by Kyle Gillis – Nevada Policy Research Institute
While higher unemployment numbers usually gain more attention than higher electricity rates, two new policy studies indicate Nevada’s renewable portfolio standards may increase both rates.
Suffolk University’s Beacon Hill Institute studied renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in New Mexico and Oregon and projected that, as a result of those standards, both states can expect to lose more than 15,000 jobs and have electricity prices rise by 20 percent.
Since Nevada’s electricity rates are the second highest in the West, the studies’ authors said Nevada could face a similar economic forecast.
“Most renewables in Nevada and across the country need heavy taxpayer subsidies to survive, because they aren’t cost competitive,” said Paul Bachman, Beacon Hill’s director of research. “As long as renewables aren’t cost competitive — and the EIA [Energy Information Administration] shows they won’t be for the foreseeable future — RPS standards will weigh down states.”
The harm projected for the Oregon economy is highly relevant for Nevada because Nevada and Oregon have the same demanding RPS — “25 by 25,” meaning that 25 percent of all energy must be generated by renewable sources by 2025. According to Beacon Hill’s study, by that date Oregon’s portfolio standard will have cost the state’s taxpayers $992 million and residential electricity prices will have risen 24 percent.