Drive Electric Week: Good for Nevada

EV Blog
Speakers at the Nevada Drive Electric Week press conference sponsored by the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), NV Energy and the Nevada Business Environmental Program at the University of Nevada, Reno (BEP) on September 17, 2015 in Reno, NV. From left, Jason Geddes, Washoe County School District; John Sagebiel, UNR; Marie Steele, NV Energy; Chris Lynch, BEP; and Tom Polikalas, SWEEP.

Drive Electric Week: Good for Nevada

September 17, 2015

By Chris Lynch

The Nevada Business Environmental Program (BEP) is happy to support Drive Electric Week for a couple of reasons.

First, BEP, along with the Air Quality Management Division at the Washoe County Health District, is spearheading an effort to launch a Clean Cities Coalition for the Reno-Tahoe area. Clean Cities Coalitions are recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy and provide a framework for local public and private fleet managers to work together as a coalition to enhance alternative fuel markets. Through the coalition, fleet managers can learn about alternatives fuels and new technologies so we can get more alternative fuel vehicles, like electric vehicles, on the road in Reno-Tahoe. These vehicles are cleaner, help local air quality, help reduce dependence on foreign oil, and can offer significant cost savings over the life of the vehicle.

Second, a couple of years ago we led a study with Governor’s Office of Energy to develop a set of recommendations for aligning Nevada’s high-level economic development policy goals with the state’s energy policy goals (http://www.unrbep.org/what-we-do/areas-of-assistance/energy-efficiency/commercial-buildings-energy-efficiency-project/).

One of the recommendations was for Nevada to develop policies and incentives to accelerate the acquisition and use of electric vehicles. Charging electric vehicles at night can help flatten out some of those peaks and valleys we have in our electricity consumption and will increase the utilization of the electric generating capacity that has already been developed in Nevada. Potential steps Nevada could take to accelerate the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles, like electric vehicles, include:

  • Reduce the registration fees for alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Set a goal that public entities owning or operating five or more vehicles have a minimum of 20 percent alternative fuel vehicles.
  • Set a goal for public parking at state, county and city facilities, municipal airports, and mass-transit locations to have electric vehicle charging infrastructure in place for one percent of parking spaces.

With just two densely populated centers in Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada is the most urbanized state in the country. We are very unique in that most of our population lives close enough to where they work that they can commute to work and back home on a single electric charge. We should take advantage of this unique attribute and get more electric vehicles on the road; especially with new EPA air quality standards for ground level ozone, or smog, due on October 1st and which are likely to affect both of our urban centers.