NEVADA

NEVADA

Nevada is probably most famous for the lights and luxury of Las Vegas—the city receives 42 million visitors this year. However, Nevada has many claims to fame. It is also the driest and most mountainous state in the country and is home to over 150 mountain ranges not to mention over 3 million people. It spans nearly 110 square miles.

As Nevada is already the driest state in the nation, it is extremely vulnerable to extreme heat and drought. Nevada’s Reno is the fastest-warming city in the US. By 2050 the state is projected to see about 50 heat wave days per, up from 15 in 2000, and 30 days that reach dangerous levels. Already in the summer of 2019, Las Vegas had to set up shelters and temporary cooling stations to help people escape the intolerable heat. Wildfires are also of concern here.

These changes are putting an extreme strain on Nevada’s water supply. As in other places around the world, warmer temperatures shift rain patterns so that rain storms often become more intense even as they are less frequent. As snowpack melts earlier in the Spring, it also evaporates more quickly. The result of these combined forces is dried-out land and shrinking bodies of water.

Formed by the Hoover Dam in 1935 and fed by the Colorado River, Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country, has dropped 143 feet since 2000, is now just 37% full with an estimate of 34% by the end of 2021. So disturbed by the water scarcity, representatives of seven Western states ( Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico) and the federal government signed a landmark deal already in 2019, laying out potential cuts in water deliveries through 2026 to reduce the risks of the river’s reservoirs hitting critically low levels. 25 million people rely on Lake Mead and, as the first round of water cuts take place, hardest hit will be the agricultural and tribal communities. As Nevada’s Director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources admitted at the time, Nevada has already reached critical mass in terms of its water supply and is seeking ways to pump in water from out of state.

And, there is another danger: more than four-fifths of Nevada’s land is owned and managed by the federal government—a higher share than in any other state—and one of the nation’s largest federal hydroelectric facilities, the Hoover Dam –normally producing 2,000 megawatts of hydropower—enough electricity for nearly 8 million Americans, is delivering 25% less as Lake Mead is diminished, affecting several states, including California, Arizona and Nevada, all of which get energy from the dam. If the lake loses another 175 feet, water will no longer flow through the Hoover Dam.

Nevada is not a major energy-producing state — in 2019, 85% of the energy consumed in Nevada came from out-of-state. Most of its electricity comes from natural gas, which fuels about 65% of its consumption, with 28% of Nevada’s electricity generated from renewable energy. It ranks second in the nation in electricity generation from geothermal energy and fourth in utility-scale generation from solar.

Nevada is also taking concerted steps towards addressing climate change. In 2020 Governor Steve Sisolak signed an executive order that required collaboration across state, private, and tribal partners to create a State Climate Strategy. And, in June 2021, the legislature approved a sweeping clean energy bill that aims to accelerate construction of a massive transmission project, increase spending on electric vehicle infrastructure and require that the state join a regional transmission organization (RTO) by 2030. Nevada also has a first-of-its-kind hybrid geothermal-solar power plant, which combines geothermal power with solar PV and solar thermal generation.

Nevada is one of twenty four states, plus Puerto Rico, committed to the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CREDIT: Windpower

CURRENT NEWS

PLANS TO ACCELERATE RENEWABLES

Approval in Nevada for large-scale solar-plus-storage projects to replace coal

01/25/22
With the North Valmy Generating Station in Winnemucca, Nevada scheduled for retirement, utility NV Energy needs to replace it by 2025. The company signed contracts with renewables developer Primergy to purchase two solar-plus-storage facilities totalling…

Nevada ranks in the top 10 states for biggest solar economy

01/19/22
Solar panels have become normalized among landscapes, spotted everywhere from the open spaces of deserts to rooflines of dense residential areas. Installed on rooftops, covered carports, parking lots, and even closed landfills, solar accounted for…

Pilot project in Nevada aims to convert oil wells into geothermal producers

01/17/22
Geothermal development company Transitional Energy announced that it was selected to receive a $2,500,000 award from the U.S. Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Office (GTO). The award is to support the transition of hydrocarbon wells…

City of Las Vegas building projects are designed to save energy, water

11/10/21
Enter any building owned by the city of Las Vegas — take City Hall, for example — and know that the bright lights and cool air have been powered by 100% sustainable energy since 2016,…

Visualizing the Global Demand for Lithium

09/29/21
With the ongoing shift to electric vehicles (EVs) and clean energy technologies, governments and EV manufacturers are rushing to secure their supply chains as demand for lithium soars.

NV Energy Foundation awards $246K in energy grants to 4 nonprofits

09/24/21
The NV Energy Foundation announced this month it awarded $246,000 in Clean Energy Access for Nevada (CLEAN) grants to four Nevada nonprofits: Envirolution, Faith Organizing Alliance, Las Vegas Indian Center and Make the Road Nevada.

‘We live in a desert. We have to act like it’: Las Vegas faces reality of drought

By Oliver Milman Photo: David McNew/Getty Images 07/09/21
Investigator Perry Kaye jammed the brakes of his government-issued vehicle to survey the offense. “Uh oh this doesn’t look too good. Let’s take a peek,” he said, exiting the car to handle what has become…

NEVADA LAWMAKER REFLECTS ON NEED TO DIVERSIFY RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES

06/28/21
During Nevada’s recently concluded biennial legislative session, Senator Pat Spearman sponsored Senate Concurrent Resolution 10, a measure that would have mandated a study to explore new energy resources in Nevada. The legislation died quietly in…

Nevada Pushes Accelerator On Renewables, Transmission Lines

06/22/21
Nevada upped its bet on renewable energy when Gov. Steve Sisolak signed legislation speeding the development of a $2.5 billion electric transmission line through the heart of the state.

Nevada passes clean energy bill requiring state to join RTO, accelerating $2B transmission project

06/04/21
The Nevada legislature on Monday approved a sweeping clean energy bill that aims to accelerate construction of a massive transmission project, increase spending on electric vehicle infrastructure and require that the state join a regional transmission…

Solar-plus-batteries chosen to replace 522MW Nevada coal plant

By Andy Colthorpe 06/03/21
Nevada utility NV Energy has proposed building two large-scale solar-plus-storage plants to replace a coal plant as part of the company’s triennial Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) filing.

City of Reno Sustainability and Climate Action Plan

04/12/19
In February 2016, Governor Sandoval joined a bipartisan group of seventeen governors to announce the Governor’s Accord for a New Energy Future. This state-led initiative enables participating states to work together to capture clean energy…

State of Nevada Status of Energy Report

04/10/19
In February 2016, Governor Sandoval joined a bipartisan group of seventeen governors to announce the Governor’s Accord for a New Energy Future. This state-led initiative enables participating states to work together to capture clean energy…

KEY RESOURCES

Nevada State Profile and Energy Estimates

10/08/21
Known as the Silver State, Nevada is rich in mineral deposits, particularly gold and silver. It is also rich in renewable energy resources. Nevada is part of the Basin and Range region where iconic buttes…

Energy State Bill Tracking Database

09/10/21
The searchable Energy Storage Legislation Database displays information in interactive maps and charts, tracking state activity from 2017 to the present.

Environment and Natural Resources State Bill Tracking Database

09/01/21
The National Conference of State Legislatures tracks environment and natural resources bills that have been introduced in the 50 states, territories and Washington, D.C.

The First National Flood Risk Assessment

10/06/20
The First Street Foundation Flood Model represents the culmination of decades of research and development made possible by building upon existing knowledge and frameworks regularly referenced in the identification of flood risk.

The State of Climate Adaptation in Public Health An Assessment of 16 U.S. States

10/06/20
EcoAdaptpartnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council to assess the state of climate adaptation planning and implementation for climate-related threats to public health in 16 U.S. states.

The Impacts of Climate Change and the Trump Administration’s Anti-Environmental Agenda in Nevada

09/19/20
Between 2017 and 2019, Nevada experienced one severe wildfire and two intense droughts. The damages of these events led to losses of at least $1 billion.

State-by-State: Climate Change in Nevada

07/31/20
Nevada is vulnerable to increasing heat, melting snowpack, droughts, and wildfires

NV Solar Residential

02/27/20
We provide information, technical support and customer service to homeowners that want to make the switch to Solar Power. Our Solar Energy Consultations are free of charge.

A Nevada Climate Change Calculator

02/27/20
The NV 2050 calculator helps users discover what would happen if we continued on the path we are currently on, if we made a major effort to switch to renewable energy and if we landed somewhere…

Nevada Natural Heritage Program

02/27/20
The Climate Change Program at the Nevada Natural Heritage Program, a contributing member of the NatureServe network for connecting science with conservation across the United States, Canada, and Latin America.

Nevada Climate Change Portal

02/27/20
Seeking to provide cloud-like “research-as-a-service (RaaS)”, the focus of this project is to advance the quality and quantity of infrastructure and data collection for climate, hydrological, and ecological information pertaining to the state of Nevada.…

Renewable Options: Nevada

02/27/20
This overview provides a starting point by providing insight into state market and regulatory context that impacts the renewable energy procurement options available. Options that are available within each state are highlighted and introduced. As…

MORE NEWS

‘The moment of reckoning is near’: Feds warn huge cuts needed to shore up Lake Mead, Colorado River

By Janet Wilson  Photo: Ethan Miller, Getty Images   06/16/22  
A top federal water official told Congress on Tuesday that shortages on the Colorado River system have taken an even grimmer turn, with a whopping 2 million to 4 million acre-feet of reduction in water…

NASA’s ECOSTRESS Sees Las Vegas Streets Turn Up the Heat

By Carol Rasmussen   06/15/22  
On June 10, Las Vegas reached a record daily high temperature of 109 degrees Fahrenheit (43 degrees Celsius), and temperatures of the ground surface itself were higher still. NASA’s Ecosystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on…

Las Vegas to save 10 billion gallons of water with new plan amid megadrought

06/01/22  
Millions of people in southern California are facing new water restrictions thanks to a megadrought crippling the Southwest. But southern Nevada has been conserving water for years. The area’s latest move is to tear out…

Las Vegas becomes unlikely model for water conservation

By Ben Tracey   06/01/22  
Millions in Southern California are facing new water restrictions due to a megadrought crippling the Southwest, but across the border in Nevada — they've been conserving water for years. Now, officials in Las Vegas are…

Lake Mead could still tank in 2023, despite all we’ve done to save it

By Joanna Allhands   05/20/22  
Whatever buffer we may have had (or thought we had) at Lake Mead, it is quickly disappearing. The May 24-month study makes that plain. The monthly, two-year forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has…

The Colorado River is in crisis, and it’s getting worse every day

By Erin Patrick O'Connor  Photo: Matt McClain   05/14/22  
It is a powerhouse: a 1,450-mile waterway that stretches from the Rocky Mountains to the Sea of Cortez, serving 40 million people in seven U.S. states, 30 federally recognized tribes and Mexico. It hydrates 5…

Office of Energy report: Nevada targets 50 percent clean renewable energy by 2030

By Jeff Munson   01/30/22  
The Nevada Governor’s Office of Energy released its annual Status of Energy Report on Friday. In accordance with Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 701.160, GOE is required to report on its objectives, activities and coordination…

Nevada tops list for best solar economy in U.S.

By Matt Vaughan  Photo: Terri Russell   01/25/22  
Nevada has the biggest solar economy in the United States according to a report from Stacker.com. The website analyzed data from the Solar Energy Industries Association, ranking states by the number of solar jobs per…

Where is the people’s solar?

By Ruth Nolan and others   01/21/22  
Most of you have seen images of the industrial-sized solar arrays promised to solve the existential threat of climate change. For those who haven’t, picture a desert vista: Big, blue sky; purple mountains all around;…

Nevada geothermal power lawsuit bound for US appeals court

By The Associated Press   01/21/22  
A federal appeals court will have to decide whether protecting historical tribal lands and a rare toad warrant blocking a major geothermal plant in Nevada as the nation tries to move away from fossil fuels…

Nevada is taking steps toward a Western electric grid. What will it look like?

By Daniel Rothberg  Photo: Jeff Scheid , The Nevada Independent   01/20/22  
In October, electric utilities representing states across the West announced plans to examine a path forward to do that. The utilities, including NV Energy, disclosed the formation of an informal working group (the Western Markets…

Plant owner says construction ban could sink Nevada geothermal project

By Sebastien Malo  Photo: Andrew Kelly , Reuters   01/12/22  
An affiliate of Reno-based Ormat Technologies Inc has asked a federal judge to shorten a 90-day preliminary injunction halting planned construction work at a geothermal power plant in western Nevada, arguing it may otherwise be…

Clean energy goes up against tribal rights and biodiversity in Nevada

By Emily Pontecorvo  Photo: Patrick Donnelly , Center for Biological Diversity   01/07/22  
The Biden administration is facing critical questions about how to balance the urgency of transitioning to clean energy with other progressive priorities. On Monday, a U.S. district judge halted construction of two geothermal power plants…
npr

The Western megadrought is revealing America’s ‘lost national park’

By Nathan Rott  Photo: Claire Harbage , NPR   01/07/22  
On a turquoise lake in a sandstone desert, Ross Dombrowski is trying to figure out what to do about the rock growing behind his houseboat. The rock, spectacular and rust red, like most in southern…

From the Colorado River to public lands, environmental stories to watch in 2022

By Daniel Rothberg  Photo: Daniel Rothberg , The Nevada Independent   01/06/22  
It’s a new year, and there is a lot going on in the world. Instead of the usual newsletter format, Indy Environment this week is looking ahead at a few stories to watch as we…

Newsletter: Harry Reid reshaped the West. His environmental legacy is complicated

By Sammy Roth  Photo: Brian Corley , Associated Press   01/06/22  
When Harry Reid retired, New York Magazine ran this headline: “Who Will Do What Harry Reid Did Now That Harry Reid Is Gone?” I’ve been thinking about that question as Democrats struggle to advance President…

Biden administration approves expansion of solar power on U.S. land

By Matthew Brown   12/21/21  
U.S. officials announced approval Tuesday of two solar projects in California and moved to open up public lands in three other Western states to potential solar development, as part of the Biden administration’s effort to…

With Western Waters Out Of Whack, Algae Blooms Produce A Toxic Stew

By Bert Johnson   09/29/21  
Two separate times over the summer, the City of Reno in Nevada warned residents to avoid contact with local lakes and ponds where the explosive growth of cyanobacteria – also known as blue-green algae –…

The Bad News Keeps Flowing For The Colorado River

By Joe Schoenmann and Zachary Green   09/27/21  
Federal officials project more bad news for the drought-stressed Colorado River, which provides water to Las Vegas and much of the Southwest.

Neglected Nevada communities need big, bold action taken on climate change

By Jose Silva   09/24/21  
I came to the United States from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, as a child and have lived in Las Vegas since then. This is the only home I have ever known and I have created community…

Climate change: US projections on drought-hit Colorado River which serves 40 million people grow even more dire

By Rebecca Speare_Cole   09/23/21  
Lake Mead and Lake Powell - reservoirs along the river that are used as barometers to judge how much supply some states will get from the water source - have dipped to historic lows.

Fueled by climate change, costly Southwest drought isn’t going away

By Rong Fu and others  Photo: Roger Kisby , Bloomberg News   09/21/21  
With absent rainy seasons, depleted snowpack, widespread heat waves, unprecedented wildfires and low reservoirs, the American West has experienced an extraordinary drought since early 2020. To inform and prepare Americans for droughts like this one,…

Biden’s climate commitment tested as greens fight Nevada lithium mine

By Valerie Richardson   09/17/21  
President Biden is calling for an electric vehicle revolution, but a major mining project proposed for remote western Nevada could soon show whether his administration intends to walk the talk.

States across American west see hottest summer on record as climate crisis rages

By Danny Anguiano  Photo: Alisha Jucevic , Reuters   09/10/21  
California experienced its hottest summer on record this year as the climate crisis caused deadly heatwaves and intense wildfires in the state and across the American west.

Nevada Urged to Shut Down Upcoming Bear Hunt as Wildfires Rage

Photo: Steve Maslowski , USFWS   09/08/21  
Wildlife advocates called on the Nevada Department of Wildlife today to shut down the state’s bear hunt in units affected by or adjacent to the recent catastrophic wildfires that have wreaked havoc on Sierra Nevada…

Why Water Cuts Are Coming to Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico (Correct)

By Cordie Qualle  Photo: Justin Sullivan , Getty Images   09/02/21  
Warmer average temperatures are reducing the snow level whose melt is relied upon to fill storage reservoirs like Lake Mead, leading to the Bureau of Reclamation announcing unprecedented cuts in water deliveries to Arizona, Nevada,…

Climate and public health advocates discuss frequent, severe weather events affecting Nevada communities

By 8 News Now Staff   09/01/21  
Climate change is making extreme weather events like heatwaves, droughts, and wildfires in Nevada more dangerous.

Wildfire smoke leads to worst air quality on record in Nevada counties

By Celine Castronuovo   08/24/21  
Wildfires continuing to spread across California have pushed smoke across to neighboring states, with several Nevada counties reporting their worst air quality index (AQI) levels on record this week.
PEW

New Policies Promise a Two-Pronged Win for Wildlife in Nevada

By Matt Skroch and Nic Callero  Photo: Kurt Kuznicki   08/24/21  
The state of Nevada and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently took independent though complementary steps to protect the state’s migrating wildlife and sagebrush ecosystem—actions that represent a major leap forward for wildlife…

Washington can look to Nevada for proof that investing in a clean energy standard is a no-brainer | Sisolak

By Steve Sisolak   08/24/21  
When I came into office in 2019, I promised to combat climate change, invest in renewable energy and make Nevada the vibrant home of a clean energy economy.

Nevada Groups Focus on Climate Impact on Diverse Communities

By Associated Press   08/22/21  
Several organizations in Nevada led by women of color have banded together to shed light on the ways the state’s low income and diverse communities are disproportionately impacted by climate change and pollution.

The US’s largest solar farm is canceled because Nevada locals don’t want to look at it

By Michelle Lewis   07/26/21  
The 850 megawatt, 9,200-acre solar farm, which would have been constructed in southern Nevada’s Moapa Valley, was to sit on 14 square miles on the Mormon Mesa, a flat-topped hill around 50 miles northeast of…

Reservoirs are drying up as consequences of the Western drought worsen

By Diana Leonard and Others  Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images   07/09/21  
Reservoir levels are dropping throughout the West, as the drought tightens its grip on the region and intense summer heat further stresses both water supply and the surrounding landscape. Many reservoirs are at or approaching…

Solar Now Powers 13 MGM Resort Properties on the Las Vegas Strip

By Ryan Slattery   07/06/21  
Harnessing the energy of the hot desert sun. That’s exactly what MGM Resorts International is now doing to power its properties on the Las Vegas Strip.

Las Vegas weighs tying growth to conservation amid drought

By Sam Metz  Photo: Joe Cavaretta , AP   06/20/21  
Record-breaking heat and historic drought in the West are doing little to discourage cities from planning to welcome millions of new residents in the decades ahead.

‘It’s brutal’: Las Vegas cooks amid blazing heatwave – and it’s going to get worse

By Gabrielle Canon  Photo: Gabrielle Canon , The Guardian   06/19/21  
By midnight on Wednesday, two days into a scorching heat wave to hit the US west, the air in Las Vegas had barely cooled.

Nevada solar installers give Secretary Granholm tour of Townsite Solar Facility

By Kelsey Misbrener   06/17/21  
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) workers in Boulder City, Nevada, gave Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and Congresswoman Susie Lee (D-NV) a demonstration of how solar panels are installed during a private tour…

Will Nevada support renewable energy vs biodiversity & Indigenous rights?

By Max Wilbert   06/17/21  
Global emissions of carbon dioxide reached 36.8 billion metric tons in 2019, and were on track for the highest levels ever in 2020. But then the coronavirus hit, and the resulting economic slowdown caused carbon emissions…

True impact of highly lauded clean energy bill unclear, say environmental groups

By Clara Bates  Photo: Ernest Ojeh , Unsplash   06/16/21  
Nevada hopes to become a national leader in clean energy, but some activists are concerned about what might be sacrificed along the way.

Hoover Dam, symbol of the modern West, faces a new test with an epic water shortage

By Ian James  Photo: Mark Henle , USA Today Network   06/11/21  
Hoover Dam towers more than 700 feet above Black Canyon on the Arizona-Nevada state line, holding back the waters of the Colorado River.

Energy secretary visits Nevada as governor signs renewable plans into law

By David Charns   06/10/21  
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm visited southern Nevada on Thursday as Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed two new energy-related bills into law.

Governor Sisolak signs legislation to create thousands of jobs, invest in Nevada’s New Energy Economy

06/10/21  
Today, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak  signed two pieces of legislation from the 81st Legislative Session that will invest in Nevada’s new energy economy and infrastructure while creating thousands of jobs.

Endangered Flower at Crossroads of U.S.’s Lithium Future

By Amy Lupica  Photo: Jim Morefield , Wiki CC   06/07/21  
A battle is raging in Nevada as the U.S. Fish, and Wildlife Service announces it will be listing Tiehm’s buckwheat flower as an endangered species, striking a blow to a lithium mining project in the region. Lithium is required for…

Solar Power’s Land Grab Hits a Snag: Environmentalists

By Jim Carlton   06/04/21  
This windswept desert community is full of clean energy supporters including Suzanne Rebich, an airline pilot who recently topped her house with 36 solar panels.

Humboldt river field office to publish the final environmental assessment for the baltazor geothermal development project

05/21/21  
The Humboldt River Field Office has published the final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Baltazor Geothermal Development Project. The project will be located approximately seven miles southwest of Denio near Baltazor Hot Springs next to…

Mitigating Climate Change in the American Southwest Includes Draining Lake Powell

By Craig Axford  Photo by Breanna Klemm   04/24/21  
The American Southwest (consisting of all or part of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah) receives less precipitation than any other region in the United States. In his 1986 book Cadillac Desert, the environmental…

Nevada sees lithium ‘white gold rush’ as demand set to skyrocket

ABC News   04/23/21  
In the Nevada desert, there’s a quiet frenzy building over a rare resource that will be crucial to meeting the country’s goals to slow down climate change: Lithium, the crucial component in batteries for electric vehicles…

GOP lawmakers take aim at Arizona renewable energy standards

By Jonathan J. Cooper   03/30/21  
As states across the U.S. West beef up their renewable energy requirements, a push to do so in Arizona has been met by fierce resistance from the Republican governor and GOP-dominated Legislature, which are looking…

That’s sprawl, folks! The Clark County lands bill arrives

By Dexter Lim   03/29/21  
Seven months ago, I wrote in this estimable publication about the implications of the long-proposed Clark County Lands Bill, and its provisions for miles of urban sprawl.

Fight over natural gas ban roils Nevada

By Miranda Willson  Photo: Ken Lund , Wikimedia Commons   03/24/21  
A fight over the future of natural gas is simmering in Nevada, highlighting questions about equity and energy costs that could cloud efforts to decarbonize the buildings sector.