Nevada Energy and Climate Facts:
The National Climate Assessment found that increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns are exacerbating pre-existing heat and dry conditions in the Southwestern United States. This is stressing snow packs crucial to replenishing watersheds throughout the region and creating the conditions for sustained drought, has strained surface and subterranean aquifers, and increased risks for wildfires.
In the past thirty years, the American Southwest has experienced on average 40 days of temperatures above 95°F. By mid-century, this region will see an additional 13 to 28 days of such extreme heat, according to one report.
According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 64% of Nevada residents recognize that global warming is real (with more than 60% in all districts of the state recognizing global warming). Smaller margins understand that climate change will harm them personally (averaging 37% across the state).
In the Southwest, seasonal and multi-year droughts have been shown to affect wildfire severity. Western states have seen an increase in the number of large wildfires at a rate of nearly seven large fires per year from 1984-2011, and the total burned area increased by 216 square miles per year for the same time period. The trends were most pronounced for southern and mountain regions, not coincidentally accompanied by an increasing trend of drought severity.
As part of the Clean Power Plan, Nevada is working towards and on track to exceed its goal of reducing state emissions by 22.4% by 2030. Additionally, Nevada has set a target of deriving 25% of its energy from renewable sources by the year 2025. In the year 2013, Nevada was already sourcing 17.5% of its electricity from renewables.
As of 2014, Nevada had the fifth largest installed capacity of solar of any state in the United States totaling 1,042 MW and the third fastest rate of annual added capacity, installing 339 MW in a single year.
The Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication also gauged Nevada’s support for regulating CO2 and funding renewable energy. The Project finds that fully 76% would support regulating CO2 as a pollutant, and an estimated 69% would support setting strict CO2 limits on existing coal-fired power plants. A robust 78% would support funding more research into renewable energy (with high margins of support recorded in every district).
Nevada is developing a plan to meet the Clean Power Plan goals and is neither a party to the lawsuit against the plan or a state that has publicly endorsed the plan.