Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is intended to increase use of renewable resources in the state by establishing the minimum amount of renewable energy that the state's electricity providers must sell in a given year. This legally-established renewable energy procurement goal gradually increases over time to meet the overall target of 25% renewable power by 2025. New energy efficiency measures also count toward the goal, which are discussed but not considered for calculations on this and subsequent pages.
The state profile below explores the design of this policy, highlighting the factors that influence the success of Nevada’s RPS goals and the tradeoffs inherent to it. Once you’re comfortable with the information on this page, you can evaluate the policy’s expected viability with the RPS Feasibility Calculator. You can also use the calculator to change the policy requirements, trajectory, cost cap, and more, to see how altering Nevada’s policy design affects its success.
- 25% of the state’s energy consumption must be from renewable sources by 2025
- Carve-out for solar
- No legally defined cost cap
Carve-outs can create economic opportunities in the state by introducing new or promising technologies into the market. However, these standards limit the utilities’ ability to substitute between renewable energy sources, potentially increasing the cost of the policy. Nevada requires 5% of the annual RPS requirement must be fulfilled with solar power by 2015, or 1.2% of total sales in that year. For the period 2016 to 2025, it rises to 6% of generation, 1.5% of sales in 2025.
Compare the goal established in the RPS to what is being achieved.
Compare the goal established in the RPS to what is being achieved. The most current information available is from 2011. As of 2011 Nevada was 100% compliant with its goal of 15% capacity in that year, leading to a goal of 25% capacity in 2025.
The following chart compares the variety of sources currently used to generate Nevada’s electricity. The color of each bar is indicative of the carbon intensity of each source.
Cost Cap Details
Unlike some states, Nevada does not have an explicit ‘cost cap’ or limit on the potential increase in electricity costs as a result of this policy. However, all new contracts must be approved by the PUC. If insufficient supply is available at ‘just and reasonable’ terms (as determined by the PUC), then the PUC may choose to exempt the provider from any remaining RPS requirements. Using the RPS Feasibility Calculator you can act as the PUC and define an explicit cost cap, determining what level of costs will lead to a viable RPS.
Historic retail prices (¢ / kWh)
The above chart presents historical data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on the price at which residential customers can purchase electricity. Typically, states set explicit cost caps relative to the retail price (as opposed to the lower wholesale price).
Nevada’s original RPS was established in 1997, and was most recently updated in 2009 (NRS 704.7801). It applies to investor-owned utilities and retail suppliers, requiring 25% of retail sales from renewable sources by 2025. New energy efficiency measures also count toward the goal. Nevada statute requires the retirement of 800 MW of coal plants, to be replaced with cleaner sources (including at minimum 350 MW from renewable sources). The RPS is administered by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada.
RPS Technical Details
|Eligible Technologies||Solar Water Heat, Solar Space Heat, Solar Thermal Electric, Solar Thermal Process Heat, Photovoltaics, Landfill Gas, Wind, Biomass, Hydroelectric, Geothermal Electric, Municipal Solid Waste, Waste Tires (using microwave reduction), Energy Recovery Processes, Solar Pool Heating, Anaerobic Digestion, Biodiesel, Geothermal Direct-Use|
|Geographic Eligibility||Only energy produced in Nevada or delivered to Nevada applies toward the RPS goal|
|Percent of Total Load||88.2%|
|Technology Requirements||Through 2015, 5% of the annual RPS requirement (1.2% of sales in 2015) must be fulfilled through solar. For the period 2016 to 2025, it rises to 6% of generation (1.5% of sales in 2025)|
|Sectors||Investor-Owned Utilities, Retail Suppliers|
|Penalty||By statute, state regulators may impose unspecified penalties for non-compliance.|
Tools and other links
- Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) RPS data page—Datasets available for download in .xlsx format
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Energy Analysis Portal—Resources on renewable energy policies, and interactive web tools
- Energy Information Administration (EIA) U.S. Energy Mapping System—An interactive energy resource map with a myriad of data layers to explore
- DSIRE State RPS Page—Visit for detailed information on RPS and complete legislation
- Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) State Profile—Your state has a NRDC renewable energy resources profile; find state resources and learn about the technologies being used
- U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)—State Profile—Access your state’s EERE page, and find information on renewable resources maps, energy statistics, and news