Nevada Getting Sunnier With Solar Power Projects
-Nevada looks to incrementally advance its renewable portfolio standard (RPS) from the current 22 percent to 80 percent by 2040 in a large part with utility scale and rooftop solar power. House bill AB 206, if passed and signed into law, would encourage and accelerate the development of renewable energy projects to benefit the economic, health and environmental wellbeing of the people of Nevada. The deserts of Nevada receive more sun than any state in the U.S., which makes it a prime spot for developers to construct solar photovoltaic or thermal generating stations. The state is also working to eliminate all coal-fired power generation, which would make a majority of its electrical generation come from natural gas fired power plants. More than one-fifth of Nevada's electrical generation comes from renewable energy sources, according the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Currently, IIR is tracking 23 solar projects valued at $8.7 billion, 7 geothermal projects valued at $1 billion, 5 hydroelectric projects valued at $3.54 billion and 2 wind projects valued at $705 million in the state.
But despite significant solar growth over the last ten years the technology only represents 1.5 percent of electrical generation in the U.S. with California accounting for over 36 percent of solar capacity with 2,749 megawatts added, Nevada is number five on the list with 618 megawatts.
Nationally, non-hydro renewables (wind, solar, biomass, geothermal) accounted for 8.85 percent of electrical generation in 2016 and is forecast to provide 9 percent in 2017, which will surpass the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast.
As one of the few states that have utility scale electricity generation from geothermal resources, Nevada ranks second in the nation on geothermal energy production. Most of Nevada's renewable generation comes from hydroelectric power plants, primarily the Hoover Dam which produces 2,079 megawatts.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (Washington, D.C.) set a recent ruling on governing solar and wind energy development on public lands. The ruling supports project development in areas with the highest generation potential and fewest resource conflicts and assures developers transparency and predictability in rents and fees in response to market conditions. The rules competitive leasing provisions are expected to promote renewable energy development on 700,000 acres on public lands identified in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.
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