What do these past Midterms Mean for Nikola?
One positive takeaway Nikola will draw from these past midterm elections – yet another state has set ambitious targets to adopt renewable energy. This past midterm election, Nevada voters passed Question 6 calling for 50% of commercial energy to come from renewable sources. Currently, only 20% of Nevada’s energy comes from renewables, but with an increasing amount of corporations investing in renewables, Nevada hopes to reach their target. This primary passage of Question 6 means that Nevada must vote again in 2020 in order for the Nevada Constitution to be amended.
Nevada is one of twenty-nine states that have renewable portfolio standards. So far in the US more than 80 cities, five counties and two states have committed to 100% renewables. States to follow going forwards after Tuesday nights gubernatorial elections? Colorado with Jared Polis’s goal for 100% renewables by 2040. Illinois with J.B. Pritzker’s goal for 50% renewables by 2025. New Mexico with Michelle Lujan Grisham’s plan for 80% renewables by 2040.
While the midterms illustrated a deep divide among american voters on many issues, voter support for renewables is not one of them. Polls taken this past October show that 83% of conservative republicans favor further solar development as do 97% of liberal democrats. So where’s the divide? Support for oil drilling and views on energy policy.
Arizona and Washington were less successful in getting voter support for their recent energy goals. Arizona voters overwhelmingly rejected proposition 127 calling for a 50% renewable energy mandate by 2030. The utility Arizona Public Service was a driving voice against this proposition and spent more than $30 million opposing it. Washington state voters also rejected Washington’s Carbon Emissions Fee Measure for a second time. The oil industry contributed the majority of the $31 million raised to fight this proposition. Nevada had similar oppositions against question 6, but they had strong support from casinos and data centers and substantial evidence that solar development would create more jobs and economic revenue for the state.
With the most recent IPCC report, we need, now more than ever, a stronger political push towards renewable targets from states like Arizona and Washington. In 2016, electricity accounted for 28% of greenhouse gas emissions and with only a dozen years for global warming to be kept at a maximum of 1.5C, time is not a luxury we have. Nonetheless we are excited about the recent developments in states like Nevada, Colorado, Illinois and New Mexico and look forward to working in those areas to help these states reach their targets.