Last night clean energy wasn’t first and foremost on ballots across most of the country but a slew of newly elected lawmakers across the country are supporting clean energy more than ever before, raising hopes from renewable energy advocates and conservationists. While clean energy propositions didn’t pass in every state—Nevada was a bright spot—it shows hope for future initiatives.
The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), for instance, cited seven gubernatorial winners for their support of renewable energy. They were California’s Gavin Newsom (D), Colorado’s Jared Polis (D), Illinois’ JB Pritzker (D), Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer (D), Minnesota’s Tim Walz (D), Nevada’s Steve Sisolak (D) and New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham (D). The organization also cited numerous state and federal official officials for their support of renewable energy.
“This election, we’ve seen more proof that voters and elected officials of both parties recognize the tremendous benefits that solar brings to our economy, environment and the reliability of the grid. This trifecta is why solar has overwhelming public support,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association. "As evidenced again last night by several pro-solar candidates winning elections, voters want the government to do more to grow solar energy in the U.S. We look forward to working with all of the new and returning governors and Members of Congress on policies that will expand solar markets, grow jobs, and make solar’s economic benefits available to more consumers and businesses.”
On state referendums two of the biggest win was in Nevada. In Nevada the state voted for Question 6, which would raise its renewable portfolio standard to 50 percent by 2030. Other statewide measures that were more punitive to fossil fuels failed as did a referendum in Arizona to increase its renewable energy standard. But the Portland Clean Energy Initiative passed.
The Nevada referendum was the biggest statewide win for renewables in last night’s elections. It will double its standard from 25 percent to 50 percent in the same timeframe.
“The people of Nevada confirmed what we’ve known all along: We have a right to clean air and clean energy,” said Katie Robbins, Vote Solar’s YES on 6 campaign manager. “With Question 6, we will stop spending $700 million every year on fossil fuels from other states and start investing in our abundance renewable energy resources. We could not have done this with the help of businesses, advocates and organizations that have been working on this for many years. This victory reaffirms that Nevadans of all political stripes support more renewable energy, more jobs and, most importantly, the opportunity for a healthier Nevada.”
"Nevada voters made history last night, taking a vital step that puts the state on track to rapidly expand solar installations and create thousands of new jobs,” Hopper said, echoing Robbins’ sentiment. “The measure will reduce pollution and lower energy bills for Nevadans in all corners of the state. The approval of Question 6 is yet more proof that voters from both parties recognize solar’s tremendous benefits and want policies that encourage its growth. Now, we need to ensure the momentum continues.”
For the 50 percent renewable energy standard to be realized, 50 percent of Nevada’s voters had to approve it. Fully 60 percent of voters approved Nevada’s Question 6, according to Vote Solar. For it to go into effect, however, Nevada voters will have to approve the measure again in 2020, per Nevada law. In making the initial approval, Nevada is now set to join a growing number of states that are boosting their renewable portfolio standards like California, Hawaii and New York.Tweet