Policy Integrity Input Leads to Climate Progress in Nevada
Input from the Institute for Policy Integrity helped encourage Nevada to modernize its energy policymaking by accounting for the impacts of carbon pollution in key electric utility planning decisions. At the recommendation of Policy Integrity and partner groups, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada recently included language on the Obama-era Interagency Work Group’s Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) in new rules governing utilities’ resource plans.Utilities will now have to analyze and clearly disclose the damages caused by climate change when evaluating alternative long-term resource plans. This information will be used by utilities and the Commission when selecting their preferred resource plan.
Comments to the Nevada PUC on the Proposed Regulation to Implement SB 65
The Nevada Public Utilities Commission recently released a proposed regulation to implement Senate Bill 65, which directs the PUC to give preference to those measures and sources of supply that provide the greatest economic and environmental benefit to the State. In our joint comments with Western Resource Advocates and Environmental Defense Fund, we express our support for these revisions to Nevada’s resource planning regulations. Specifically, we support the Commission’s application of the Interagency Working Group (IWG) Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) estimates to calculate the Present Worth of Societal Costs in Nevada, as reflected in the proposed regulation. In addition, we update the PUC on the use of the IWG SCC estimates in other states, including California, Colorado, Minnesota, New York and Washington State.
Comments to the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada on the Social Cost of Carbon
Nevada recently passed SB 65, a bill updating the state’s electricity planning process and boosting resources that provide economic and environmental benefits to the state. The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada subsequently held a series of formal and informal workshops and calls to shape the new regulation required under SB 65. We submitted joint comments with other stakeholders that included consensus language for several sections of the regulation. We also note in these comments that while stakeholders did come to an agreement on most issues, questions remain on how to define the social cost of carbon for the implementing regulation. Accordingly, we submitted supplemental comments to the PUC, discussing how the social cost of carbon is used by several other states, including in state electricity regulations and proceedings. We note that Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, and New York use SCC estimates from the federal Interagency Working Group, and recommend that the Nevada PUC follow a similar approach.
Comments to Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission
Nevada’s Senate Bill 65, passed in 2017, directs the state’s Public Utilities Commission to prioritize the sources of electricity that provide the greatest economic and environmental benefits, including considering the potential costs of carbon, when reviewing utilities’ resource plans. Our joint comments with Western Resource Advocates and the Environmental Defense Fund offer guidance to the Commission on how to evaluate the potential costs of carbon. Specifically, we recommend that the Commission should require the utilities’ resource plans to use the Social Cost of Carbon as developed by the federal government in 2016 to evaluate the potential costs of carbon associated with different electricity sources. We also submitted joint comments replying to stakeholder feedback, offering specific feedback on how the Commission can modify its regulations to accomplish the intent of the bill.
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