Nevada voters can choose a clean energy revolution

Why I’m urging Nevadans to vote yes on November’s energy choice ballot initiative.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta
CREDIT: AP Photo/Joe Cavaretta

The Energy Choice Initiative prohibits electricity monopolies. The constitutional amendment would open Nevada’s electricity markets, ensuring “every person, business, association… or any other entity in Nevada has the right to choose the provider of its electric utility service.” It was written, in part, to address a utility proposal to implement fixed charges for solar customers.

Nevada will kick off a clean energy revolution and determine a model for the entire nation to pursue with one simple ballot question.

In just a few days, Nevadans are poised to gut energy monopolies’ rigid power grabs and directly participate in the clean energy economy. Voting “yes” on energy choice will represent a seismic shift for America and the world — a momentous example of how the people can take down an outdated, special interest monopoly and choose the future they want for their state and their country.

All eyes will be on Nevada this year as we lead the charge into a new chapter of the clean energy revolution. November 8 will be a historic, consequential day for the Silver State and the country.

While some other states began allowing competition in the 1990s, this will be the first ballot initiative that directly responds to this new movement to democratize clean energy. When Nevadans overwhelmingly vote “yes” for a clean energy future, states across the country will be able to quickly follow our example. Even right now, Nevada is a national leader in expanding clean energy.

“The people of Nevada, along with all Americans, are beginning to recognize that they are being held captive — it is time to end energy monopolies once and for all.”

But ten years ago, we were at a critical turning point of our energy future. The Silver State faced a decision whether to build new coal plants that would have hindered the development of renewable energy resources in a big way. I publicly opposed the building of those two coal plants and neither of them were built. A decade later, we now have yet another opportunity to reject special interests of the past and choose a clean energy economy for the future. This referendum will prove to be democracy in action — a testament to the will of the people.

I have had my fair share of battles with Nevada’s stodgy energy utility. Some of the most memorable have been opposing the building of filthy coal plants, demanding they close the Reid-Gardner plant that was pumping pollution into the air we breathe and calling for the reversal of the short-sighted decision to eliminate net metering. But this ballot initiative is the biggest fight yet. We will not stand by as Nevada’s energy utility continues to be shielded from competition at the expense of American consumers.

Nevadans are vexed by the power grab of our current electric utility monopoly, questioning why the government has effectively ended their choice to install solar on their homes. The discontent with this encroaching monopoly is evident by polls consistently showing that nearly 70 percent of Nevadans overwhelmingly support a state constitutional amendment opening the electricity market to competition.

The people of Nevada, along with all Americans, are beginning to recognize that they are being held captive — it is time to end energy monopolies once and for all.

To continue advancing our nation’s clean energy revolution, we must repel the negative forces seeking to undermine Americans’ freedom to choose clean energy. These enemies of progress are shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars promoting their personal empires at the expense of American consumers and businesses. We need to resist the partisan, big money interests from interfering with our future and energy independence.

This November, Nevadans have the ability to empower and inspire all states to collectively choose clean energy and carry forward this nation’s enormous potential into an era of unprecedented prosperity and growth.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has made a career of fighting for clean energy. He has supported investments in renewable energy, transmission lines, and energy efficiency that create jobs and reduce energy costs for Nevada families.