Nevada - Smart Energy Decisions

Regulation, Utilities, Sourcing Renewables  -  January 2, 2020

Nevada expands EV charging network

Rural areas of Nevada and segments of Interstate 15 will soon be receiving electric vehicle charging sites through the second phase expansion of the Nevada Electric Highway project, which has been growing across the state since 2015.

Thirteen charging stations are under development along Interstate 80, U.S. Highway 50, Highway 93 and Interstate 15and are expected to be completed by the end of 2020.

According to ENR Southwest, the Nevada Electric Highway sprung out of a move by Tesla in 2015 to build its $5 billion Gigafactory in the state. The first phase included the installation of charging stations along 450 rural miles of U.S. Highway 95, which links Las Vegas with Reno, where the Gigafactory is located.

Thanks to utility and government funding of the project, the first set of chargers were free for public use for the first five years, with subsequent rates to be set by the owners of the charging locations. This new second phase of the Nevada Electric Highway will allow charging costs to be determined by site owners from the start.

The news site also reported that Nevada has pledged to remain in line with the Paris Climate Agreement and to cut greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half by 2030.

“For us to get to those goals, we’re going to need to do a lot of things,” Sen. Chris Books told the publication. “One of those is to electrify transportation, which is our state’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gasses.”

The Nevada Electric Highway project was started by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and has been ramped up since Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak took office in 2019. The project began as a collaboration between the Governor’s Office of Energy; the Nevada Dept. of Transportation; NV Energy, the state’s major electric utility; and rural power providers.

“The state set aside $3.7 million in settlement funds from the Volkswagen emissions scandal for the second phase,” ENR reported. “Regulators also approved NV Energy’s proposal for the utility to invest up to $500,000 per station along the electric highway.”

Just this past November, Gov. Sisolak signed an executive order that requires state agencies to submit targets and strategies for greenhouse gas emission reductions by December 2020. The legislation specifically targeted the transportation sector and emphasized the industry’s need for environmental reform.

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