Newly Formed Business Coalition Demands Nevada Stop Wasting Energy
LAS VEGAS – On March 6th, dozens of Las Vegans joined with local businesses owners at the Las Vegas Cyclery to demand more attention be put towards energy efficiency in Nevada. The group released a coalition letter signed by 30 local businesses calling on the Nevada State Legislature’s Interim Committee on Energy to study energy efficiency performance in the state. At the press conference, the energy efficiency advocates cited a report by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy where Nevada’s energy efficiency performance fell from being ranked 15th in the country to 33rd between the years 2008 and 2013.
“Our message today is clear. Nevada can and must be a leader in energy efficiency,” said Tom Kroplinski, owner of the Art Box in Downtown Las Vegas. “We’ve been taking steps in the right direction to protect our health and our environment by moving beyond coal. Las Vegans want to ensure that we can continue to take steps in the right direction towards a fully clean energy economy. Improving our energy efficiency performance is the first step.”
The press conference was held at the Las Vegas Cyclery, a Green Business owned by Las Vegas local Jared Fisher. Fisher spoke about the benefits of owning an energy efficient business. “Trying to move to clean energy without energy efficiency is like trying to lose weight while still eating Big Macs. Cutting back on our energy consumption in a necessary step in moving beyond fossil fuels.” Jared and Heather Fisher were lucky enough to invest in efficiency when building up their business. Not all business owners in Las Vegas have the means to make those investments on their own.
“The City of Las Vegas’s backslide on energy efficiency standards are causing confusion in the building industry as they don’t meet state standards,” said Jenifer Turchin, Project Manager at Sellen Sustainability. “Nevada has enormous potential to be a leader in energy efficiency but when standards are jurisdictionally changed without input from industry it sets the whole industry sliding backwards.” Turchin said that the first step in energy efficiency standards is conservation which is the cheapest and easiest option to keep energy rates low.
Advocates emphasized that every home, office, public building, and factory can cut energy waste by installing advanced lighting, heating and cooling systems, or appliances, but that these costs should not fall solely on the home or business owner. Energy saved helps every utility customer, because lower use means the utility doesn’t have to invest in large new energy supply projects that drive up rates.
Last June, legislators passed SB 123, which included a timeline to retire the Reid Gardner Coal Plant in Moapa, Nevada by 2017. The bill also mandated NV Energy to build 350 MW of new renewable energy, and allows up to 550 MW of “flexible power,” which could be anything from fossil fuels like natural gas to clean energy options like geothermal or energy efficiency.
“SB 123 was a major victory for our environment and our economy in Nevada,” said Tom Kroplinski. “We cannot look back to more fossil fuels like natural gas. We’re urging our legislative leadership to study how we can do better, and prioritize putting Nevada’s energy efficiency performance back on top.”