Renewables, Utilities, and the Vote

The Story:

In both Arizona and Nevada next month voters will have a chance to approve a new law creating a 50% renewable energy standard for the states’ electric utilities. The initiative is known as Prop 127 in Arizona, and as Question 6 in Nevada.


Nevada currently has a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) of 20%, which is scheduled to increase to 22% in 2020 and to 25% in 2025%. Question 6 would create a far more rigorous schedule. The renewable share would have to be 26% by 2022, 34% by 2025, 42% by 2029, and then 50% by 2050.

Arizona currently has a less ambitious RPS than Nevada. A standard of 10% in 2020 will go to 15% by 2025, and will then level out there. Prop 127, though, is more ambitious than is question 6, going to 50% as soon as 2030.

Part of the political argument, especially in Arizona, concerns whether nuclear power plants should ‘count’ as contributing to the RPS. On the one hand, Uranium is a non-renewable mineral. On the other, fission doesn’t emit greenhouse gases.

The Thing to Know: 

In Arizona, a recent poll indicated that 46.6% of those questioned plan to vote “no,” only 33.6 would say “yes.” No reliable poll seems to be available as to the prospects for the parallel initiative in Nevada, as of this writing.

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