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50 Percent Renewables In NV Because Of This Billionaire?

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer, center, arrives to speak to the Iowa Latino and Asian Coalition, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.

Governor Steve Sisolak signed into law Monday a bill that requires 50 percent of all electricity be generated from renewable sources, like solar,  by 2030 


Former Governor Brian Sandoval refused to sign a similar bill in 2017. But 60 percent of Nevada voters said they wanted that change in the 2018 election. 


Did billionaire Tom Steyer, who supported the 50 percent idea in Nevada with his money and by visiting the state, have something to do with that? 

“We were part of a coalition of organizations, including organizations from the environmental community, organized labor, faith communities, to support the idea of 50 percent renewable energy generation by 2030,” Steyer told KNPR's State of Nevada.

Steyer said that renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels and it provides more jobs than traditional fossil fuels, especially in Nevada where he said the state imported $700 million in fossil fuels a year.

In addition, he said renewable energy makes for cleaner air, lower health care costs and it helps with the "climate crisis besetting the planet."

Under the bill signed by Governor Sisolak, the clean energy standard will be gradually ramped up under the direction of the Public Utilities Commission.

The bill also outlines when the commission will be able to impose an administrative fine or take other administrative action against an electricity provider that fails to meet the renewable energy standards.

"This milestone piece of legislation will also help reduce emissions that negatively impact the health and well-being of Nevadans," Sisolak said.

While voters approved the ballot measure in 2018, it would have had to pass again in 2020 to amend the Nevada Constitution. This law supersedes that second vote.

Besides his group's efforts in Nevada, Steyer is behind the push to impeach President Donald Trump. He said his Need to Impeach effort has 8 million signatures on its online petition.

He said he wants Congress to act on impeachment of the president and set up public hearings so the general public can hear the evidence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Tom Steyer, hedge fund manager

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.