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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Nevada voters seal renewable energy goals in their state constitution

Christina Animashaun/Vox

The state will target 50 percent renewables by 2030.

As was widely expected, Nevada voters approved Question 6 on the ballot, which amends the state constitution to mandate that the Nevada’s electricity providers shift to at least 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, according to the New York Times and the Associated Press.

The initiative is less about voters changing where their electricity comes from than putting an exclamation point on a decision they’ve already made — Nevadans passed the exact same initiative in 2018. It just so happens that, to amend the state constitution, voters must pass an initiative twice, which landed the issue back on the ballot this year.

There’s been a significant push in recent years for Nevada to quickly move toward renewable energy — one that has seen some setbacks. In 2017, the state legislature passed a bill that would have mandated 40 percent renewable energy by 2030, but then-Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) vetoed it. In 2019, the bill was bumped up to 50 percent, passed again, and newly elected Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) signed it.

The success of Question 6 means there’s now a bill and a constitutional amendment mandating 50 percent renewables.

Given that the target is already law, the most substantial opposition to the initiative came from those leery about inscribing a specific target into the state constitution, not only from those who thought the target was too high, but also from those who thought it was too low — like the Center for Biological Diversity, which opposed the measure.

Nonetheless, most backers will be happy to have a target that can’t be overturned by subsequent administrations, and now, the state’s target appears to be very secure.

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