Boulder City has long led the state in the development and deployment of clean energy. From solar panels parked on our carport roofs to electric vehicle charging stations dotting our highway, Boulder City has always welcomed innovative, affordable clean energy. We serve as a clear example of the benefits Nevada can experience now that we’ve passed a bill doubling down on renewable energy through a renewable portfolio standard of 50 percent by 2030.
For more than a decade, companies seeking to take advantage of Nevada’s vast solar resources have leased our land to build renewable generation facilities in our energy resource zones. We now have 6,400 acres of developed solar facilities, which produce 1,100 megawatts of power, enough to power 830,000 homes, with much of that energy serving Nevadans.
Another 3,500 acres have lease options for solar companies to generate renewable energy.
As former Mayor Rod Woodbury shared in his last State of the City, our energy resource zones have produced such great interest that solar revenues now make up one-third of our city’s operating costs. These revenues also contribute approximately $2 million annually to our capital improvement fund, helping to pay for critical infrastructure projects. This can, in turn, help us attract more businesses and visitors to our great city.
Clean energy doesn’t just bring revenue and alternative energy to Boulder City. The clean energy industry also creates jobs in solar-generating facilities. With NV Energy planning to develop two new solar plants capable of generating 300 megawatts of clean energy right next to Boulder City, we could see thousands of jobs for Nevadans who will also live in, recreate, dine or otherwise patronize Boulder City establishments.
Raising our renewable portfolio standard will finally make Nevada competitive with nearby states that have already raised their clean energy generation and ensure that new energy developed in the state can help grow our economy for years to come. With clean energy prices dropping below oil and gas prices, and NV Energy already purchasing utility-scale solar energy at the lowest price in the country, Nevada could make historic progress to save our residents money while expanding economic growth. Adding battery storage technology to make clean energy available around the clock will only further this progress.
Boulder City has witnessed firsthand the benefits clean energy can bring. Business growth, job opportunities, citywide revenue and a reduced carbon footprint have all attracted more investments and visitors to our city. A higher renewable portfolio standard is a great way to multiply these benefits; it just makes sense.
It’s no wonder then that Senate Bill 358 was supported by every single legislator, Republican and Democrat. We congratulate the Nevada Legislature and Gov. Brian Sandoval for making this issue a priority and for bringing more clean energy business to our state.
Jill Rowland-Lagan is CEO of the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce.