On November 6, 2018, clean energy ballot initiatives failed in several states. In particular, voters rejected Arizona’s 50 percent renewable energy mandate, Washington’s fee on carbon emissions, Colorado’s limits on oil and gas drilling and Nevada’s retail choice initiative. However, voters passed Nevada’s 50 percent renewable energy portfolio.
Washington’s attempt at being the first state to implement a carbon tax (“Initiative 1631”) was rejected by voters. The initiative would have set a carbon price of $15/metric ton on fossil-fuel emissions. 56.3 percent of voters opposed Initiative 1631, while 43.7 percent voted in favor of the initiative. Similarly, Colorado’s attempt to limit oil and gas drilling (“Proposition 112”) was also rejected by voters. Proposition 112 would have required oil and gas drilling to be further distanced from homes, businesses and waterways; Colorado voters rejected the proposition by a 57 percent-to-43 percent vote. In Arizona, voters rejected a renewable energy mandate (“Proposition 127”), providing a decisive win (70-30) to the state’s existing power system. Proposition 127 would have required Arizona utilities to source 50 percent of its power from renewable energy resources by 2030.
Because certain Nevada state initiatives require a second approval by voters, two important ballots were at play this year. First, in 2016, Nevada voters initially approved a retail choice bill (“Question 3”). Although Question 3 passed nearly two to one in 2016, its follow up vote was rejected by voters last Tuesday. Second, Nevada voters passed initial approval for a 50 percent renewable energy mandate (“Question 6”). Voters will need to pass Question 6 again in 2020 in order for the initiative to take effect.