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Vol. 2 | ISSUE 14 | July 2018

2 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018


Imagine a World Without Waste

PG 12-14

Question 3: What You Need to Know

BizNEVADA PUBLISHING TEAM PUBLISHERS: Richard Moore and Chris O’Sullivan GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Kaylyn Dazey EDITOR-IN- CHIEF: Corrine Casanova PHOTOGRAPHER: Marcello Rostagni COVER PHOTO: Vivian Ruiz, Executive Director of Disability Resources Inc. and Itronics CEO, Dr. John Whitney, partner to create jobs and recover precious materials from circuit boards. ADVERTISING Chris O’Sullivan Richard Moore

PG 15

The Hook of the Barracuda Championship

PG 16-17

How Nevada’s Next Governor Can Expand

FEEDBACK/IDEAS We welcome your feedback and ideas regarding BizNevada. Send a message to

PG 30-31

Sunny Days Ahead

PG 32-35

On the Ballot: Nevadans to Vote to

@ 2018 Richard Moore and Chris O’Sullivan. All rights reserved.

PG 36-37

VOL. 2 / ISSUE. 14

Clean Energy PG 18-19

How to Foster a Culture of Safety

PG 20-21


PG 22-23

Energy-Efficiency in Northern Nevada’s Commercial Sector

PG 24-25

Hiring with Your Eyes Wide Open

PG 26-27

Taking on the Myths and Facts

PG 28-29

Strategic Planning for Small Business: Thinking BIG Even if You’re Small

Increase Renewable Energy Standard With Widespread Roots NPR Connects and Enriches the Silver State


EXPERT CONTRIBUTORS Jeffrey Benjamin Corporate Training Breakthrough Training 775-337-1600 Kyle Reeves Digital Marketing Revolution Online Marketing 775-335-0091 Govind Davis Digital Marketing Big M Marketing 415-992-7711 Brent Forbush Certified Public Accountants Forbush & Associates 775-337-6001

Brian D. Wheeler Financial Advisor Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Agency 775-870-1552 Mike Menath Insurance Menath Insurance 775-831-3132 David Spillers Printing Digiprint 775-786-4464 Workers Compensation EMPLOYERS 775-327-2700

KJ Smith Background Checks Employer Lynx 775-883-3733 Ron Ford HVAC Sierra Air 775-800-5500 Tim Kirk Credit Card, Merchant Services PaidRight 775-393-9669 Ward Sutton Golf Hidden Valley Country Club 775-857-4735



EDITOR by Corrine Casanova Putting together this issue of bizNEVADA was actually refreshing and energizing for me—perhaps it had something to do with the topic. Discussions regarding clean energy are front and center here in the state of Nevada. In a recent edition of Business Facilities, Governor Sandoval stated that the development of renewable energy resources has been critical to the success of Nevada’s transformation into a high-tech titan. “Our growth in advanced manufacturing and IT is a big driver for development of our solar and clean energy infrastructure. For example, Apple, Switch, Rackspace and ViaWest are investing billions in data centers here which are very energy intensive. The companies want the facilities to be powered by clean energy, which in turn has increased investment in that area,” said Sandoval. Energy is a hot political issue too. The Clean Energy Project and the Advanced Energy Economy just gave the Nevada gubernatorial campaigns of both Adam Laxalt and Steve Sisolak a special policy roadmap on clean energy. You can read more about the six principles they’d like the candidates to consider in this month’s issue. An update by Craig A. Ruark (our bizNEVADA South editor) on the current rooftop solar rules is included along with insight into two ballot initiatives for which you will be asked to vote on in the November election. You’ll also have the opportunity to meet the man who saved the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake with an invention that extracted silver from photographic waste from our water. Now he’s taking on electronic waste (e-waste) and teaming up with Vivian Ruiz of Disability Resources to create jobs for people with disabilities in the region. We initially introduced Dr. Whitney in our February issue, Nevada’s One of a Kind Company—Itronics which should have included the byline for Dennis Bradley. Finally, the GRC Annual Meeting will be held this year October 14-17 at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino. About 1,000 attendees were at the 2017 GRC Annual Meeting and Expo from 35 different countries, making it the largest annual geothermal event in the international geothermal sector. Having the event here in Reno once again puts us in the international spotlight.

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The Power of

(AUGMENTED) PRINT by Chr is O’Sullivan, Publisher BizN evada I hope you had a great Fourth of July. Of course, now we are headed into event season. Kicking it off with Hot August Nights, and going deep into fall with the Air Races, Balloon Races and so much more. It’s also Artown this month. So much great stuff to do and see here. It’s a great time to be here in the Reno/Tahoe area. This month we are proud to be offering the first phase of our strategy to bring you the very best, very latest, and very coolest technology available. Many of you have heard of “Augmented Reality” in one form or another. At the same time, I’m certain that there are an equal number of you that have no idea what in the world I’m talking about! Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are two of the hottest buzz words in tech today. VR is the ability to immerse yourself in a digital world, through goggles or some sort of headset, that blocks out the real world and only let’s you experience what the programmer has created in their virtual world. AR on the other hand, is a layer of digital content that you can experience by viewing the real world through a device, such as your phone or a tablet. We are launching the first of a series of content and ads that use AR to give you content, previously unavailable through printed material. In this first and simplest instance, we are going to show you how we can deliver video through our magazine. Yes, you can watch a short video through your phone, right on this page!! First, we’ll ask you to download our bizNEVADA App. Just go to the App Store (iOS) or the Google Play Store (Android) and search bizNEVADA. The app is free to download and gives you access to past issues of bizNEVADA, a link to our sortable calendar of business events, a sign up for our email newsletter and a link to our AR viewer. Each time you see this icon at the bottom of a page, that’s your clue that there is hidden AR content on that page. Open up your viewer and see what there is to see. Each month we will dive deeper into the possibilities of this amazing technology and what it means to you. This page, for instance, has a special greeting from me to you. Try it out! AR will be available for our cover stories and articles, our expert contributors and our advertisers. The types of content can vary from animated charts and graphs to live hyperlinks, call buttons, mailto. and even 3D animation. So, download the free app and check out our new AR content every month. The future of print is here!




WA by Corrine Casanova

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Most people cannot imagine a world without waste. However, the concept of zero waste is nothing new to Dr. John Whitney, CEO of Itronics, Inc., a “creative green technology” company headquartered in Reno, NV. Not only has Dr. Whitney imagined a world without waste, he’s creating it by taking hazardous toxic waste and creating environmentally-friendly consumer products.

Awards in London, England and GOLD’n GRO was recognized as one of the best agricultural innovations by the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers. This product is suitable for lawns, houseplants and most crops.

It all started in 1986 rainbow and cutthroat trout were dying in the Truckee River because of silver-bearing photographic waste being dumped into the river. It turns out that silver is highly toxic to fish. The cities of Reno and Sparks were familiar with Dr. Whitney’s research on silver recovery chemistry and wanted his help to solve the problem. At this time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was threatening to file a lawsuit against the state of Nevada. After testing the material, Dr. Whitney created a solution— he invented a new process that extracted silver out of the highly toxic photographic waste while neutralizing its harmful effect on fish and the environment. The development of this solution allowed the cities of Reno and Sparks to ban the discharge of silver-bearing photo waste to the sewer treatment plant, eliminating the silver contamination problem. This also saved the cities about $6 million per year in nitrogen removal expenses. Cumulative savings have been on the order of $150 million for the communities. Major environmental lawsuits and the associated costs were also avoided. At the end of the day the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake fisheries were saved from further damage by eliminating the silver from the water.

Green technology Following the solution, Itronics was soon born and has been in the green technology business since 1990. Today, about 10 percent of their business involves the extraction of silver from photographic waste to create silver bullion, silver-bearing glass and the other 90 percent is from sales of specialty liquid fertilizer called GOLD’n GRO. They pick up spent silver-bearing photochemicals from more than 100 customers in northern Nevada and California and transport them to their facility in Stead for silver extraction and fertilizer manufacturing. “When we removed the silver from the photographic waste we found there were valuable components in that liquid. That’s when we invented a way to put micronutrients into the liquid,” said Dr. Whitney. That invention earned us second place in the IChemE, Worldwide Environmental

8 · 8· ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

Photo by Marcello Rostagni Dr. Whitney explained a bit about how the process works, “By taking toxic liquids from spent silver-bearing photographic liquids we are able to convert 100 percent of it into eleven different formulas of liquid zinc fertilizers and into silver production. At our 35,000 square foot facility in Stead we make silver bullion bars from those photographic liquids in our special furnaces that are heated to 2100 degrees F. That’s the temperature of the lava flowing out of the volcanos in Hawaii. Each bullion

bar weighs about 700 ounces or about 45 pounds.” These silver bullion bars are sent to a finish refiner, where the metals are separated.

From e-waste to zero waste Electronic waste (e-waste) continues to grow as we continue to use and rely on technology gadgets as the lifespan of consumer electronics like laptops, televisions, tablets and cell phones keeps getting shorter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, only about 1520 percent of all e-waste is recycled. The United States produces more e-waste annually than any other country. Each day Americans get rid of over 416,000 mobile devices and 142,000 computers either by recycling or disposing of them in landfills and incinerators.

There’s money in these discarded goods as there are precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and palladium that can be extracted. Unknowingly to the U.S. consumer, many of our discarded electronics are shipped to India or China under the guise of being recycled. Instead, they often end up on the streets where they are burned and endanger the cities where they are dumped. “In 2016, about $22 billion of gold in e-waste was thrown away by not recycling properly. The amount of gold and other valuable metals lost worldwide are staggering. With our process, we not only recover the gold and silver, but also valuable metals like copper, tin and palladium,” said Dr. Whitney. In addition to creating a process to extract all the base and precious metals, in 2017, Itronics teamed up with Vivian Ruiz, Executive Director of Disability Resources Inc., a nonprofit that helps individuals with disabilities achieve their highest potential through support programs and skills training. New2U Computers is a division of Disability Resources. They receive donated computers from the community, which are either refurbished or repurposed for resell in their store or to be given to individuals with disabilities through their Computer Giving Program or recycled. New2u Computers recently received certification in R2:2013, ISO 14001:2015, and OHSAS 18001:2007. They are the first nonprofit in Northern Nevada to receive these certifications. R2 is considered the electronic recycling standard. Each provision of the R2 Standard is designed to help ensure the quality, transparency, environmental and social responsibility of electronic recycling facilities and of their downstream vendors such as Itronics. Because of their partnership with Itronics, the computers are now dismantled by individuals with disabilities supported in their Job Development Training Program, and the recovered circuit boards are supplied to Itronics. Itronics sees this as the optimum use of community resources when it can collaborate with an organization like Disability Resources to help provide job opportunities in the community who may not have jobs otherwise. Disability Resources provides their employees with paid employment and a fair hourly wage where they can bring value not only to themselves, but to their families as well.

From mining waste to zero waste Dr. Whitney also invented KAM-Thio, a clean processing technology, as an extension of the GOLD’n GRO fertilizers. It has caught the interest of the mining industry, particularly here in the Silver State. Comstock Mining Inc.


is using the KAM-Thio process on their silver-gold heap leach tailings as the residual silver, gold, base metals and cyanide can still be recovered from previously leached material. This in turn creates a potentially efficient and environmentally attractive process. Tests performed in independent metallurgical labs showed that the cyanide residual in the cyanide leached material removed through the KAM-Thio technique neutralized the solution to national drinking water standards. These results could dramatically reduce mine reclamation. Corrado De Gasperis, Executive Chairman and CEO of Comstock said at the June 12 annual stockholders meeting, “If this technology can efficiently recover these materials, then it could become a substitute for the use of cyanide and significantly change the permitting, reclamation and processing cost profile for these types of mining projects.” What’s in store for the future? They’d like to continue their Made in Nevada legacy and have most recently purchased a 48 acre, 54,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Wabuska, Nevada. “This is a long term strategic site acquisition for commercial expansion of Itronics’ unique portfolio of zero waste technologies,” concluded Dr. Whitney. With zero waste technologies being invented and utilized by companies like Itronics, it’s a bit easier to image what a world without waste would be like.

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Photo by Marcello Rostagni


QUESTION 3: What You Need to Know by Craig A. Ruark

In November, one of the ballot initiatives that Nevada voters will be asked to decide is Question 3, the “Energy Choice Initiative,” a constitutional amendment that would deregulate energy providers, provide competition, and allow consumers to choose the company from which they buy their electricity. If passed, the ballot measure would add a new section to Article I of the Nevada Constitution. The full text of the ballot question can be found at bizNEVADA/question3. While it is well known in the business world that a free market and open competition is good for the consumer, there are a lot of nuances to the deregulation of a utility, whether public or private and Ballot Question 3 is complicated. As of June 19, 2018, the support campaign had raised $19.7 million, with 10.90 million from Switch and $8.50 million from the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, which owns the Venetian and Palazzo hotels along with the Sands Convention Center. The proposition is also backed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, former U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, and a 12 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

number of green energy proponents and providers. Those opposed to the initiative include the Culinary, IBEW and Nevada AFL-CIO unions, six current and former State Officials, and NV Energy who contributed $11.9 million. This ballot initiative was passed during the 2016 election and needs to pass a second time, in 2018, to become a constitutional amendment.Nevada State Controller Ron Knecht (R), siding with the Vote NO camp, said that while he agreed with the amendment’s intentions to deregulate the energy market, the amendment did “not belong in the state constitution.” He elaborated by saying, “Constitutions should be limited to fundamental matters of government organization, the rights of citizens, and specifying and limiting the powers of government, etc. Under Nevada’s constitution, the legislature already has the power to do all the good things this measure would require. However, particular provisions of this measure may be found defective or in need of change. As long as such reforms are done legislatively, they can be remedied timely by the legislature. That’s not the case if they are

enshrined in the constitution.”

into the facts and vote yes on Question 3.”

The biggest fear by opponents of the initiative is that Question 3 would deregulate Nevada’s electric utility system, removing all limits on what providers could charge. Customers would have to buy their power on the open market and energy prices could go sky high.

Public Utility Commission Weighs In

As proof of that fear, opponents sight cases in Texas, New York, California and other states that have tried similar plans with disastrous results. “In California, market manipulation led to an 800 percent increase in electricity prices in just eight months – and to skyrocketing utility bills, rolling blackouts, and the Enron scandal. It cost ratepayers 45 billion dollars to fix. Prices have gone up in every state that tried deregulating, and Question 3 would create the same mess in Nevada.” However, on the proponent side, John Hanger, former head of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, provided Pennsylvania’s market deregulation as an example of deregulation’s benefits. He said, “After 20 years of allowing customers to choose their generation supplier and competitive power markets with appropriate oversight, customers in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh regions are paying much less for power generation than they were in 1996. In real or inflation-adjusted dollars, those residential customers are paying about 50 percent less. And Pennsylvania’s statewide average electricity price is at the national average as opposed to well above it.”

On April 18, the Public Utilities Commission, in a unanimous vote, approved a 109-page report that emphasized how electricity deregulation would raise power rates, cost billions of taxpayer dollars, and could be a major setback for Nevada’s growing renewable energy sector. The PUCN report concluded that Question 3 would: •

Increase average monthly electric bills for Nevadans and expose Nevada ratepayers to market volatility and profit-driven ratemaking practices Leave Nevada consumers liable for billions of dollars in stranded costs, require in excess of $100 million in new startup costs, and cost Nevada ratepayers more than $45 million annually in new operation and maintenance costs Push Nevada to join California’s wholesale energy market, requiring major legislative changes in both states

Jon Wellinghoff, energy law attorney, chief executive officer of GridPolicy, Inc., and former chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also responded to criticism of the measure, saying, “Fearmongering surrounding the potential for market manipulation should also be put to bed. In the wake of the Western energy crisis of the 1990s, Congress voted to give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) far-reaching power to better oversee the energy market, protect consumers from fraud and other misconduct, and deliver stiff fines for wrongdoing. The agency’s budget has also been expanded to provide for teams of lawyers, economists, and investigators that monitor our power markets on a daily basis. As a result, manipulative market behavior of the type seen during the crisis is no longer a legitimate threat.” Wellinghoff continued by stating, “Question 3 provides for the possibility of a neutral grid operator and fair and wellregulated competition that produces lower prices, more green energy options and advances in energy technology with the power to change the way we live. The measure is an important step forward that creates a foundation for Nevada’s green grid of the 21st century. I urge you to look BIZ NEVADA MAGAZINE · WWW.BIZNEVADA.COM · 13

Negatively affect net metering and other state laws that were designed to spur growth in the rooftop solar and renewable energy sectors Result in significant job lossSpark significant legal challenges and court battles over the implementation of Question 3’s ambiguous and contradictory language Make Nevada the first state to deregulate electricity by a constitutional amendment. Locking deregulation into the Nevada Constitution would make the consequences relatively permanent.

The report further highlights that Nevadans currently have some of the lowest average electricity rates in the country. Nevada is already a leader in solar and renewable energy development, as well as job and business growth, and, if passed, Question 3 would require an immediate and unprecedented commitment of Nevada’s financial, legislative, and legal resources. However, Bradley Mayer, spokesman for the Yes on 3 campaign, has commented that, “The PUC has written a one-sided report as a power grab to protect NV Energy’s monopoly and attempt to overturn the will of 73% of Nevada voters. These are the same insiders who killed rooftop solar in 2016 and have overcharged Nevada families hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Nevada’s Power Providers

There are eleven electric companies serving metropolitan and rural Nevada. NV Energy (pronounced NVee) with its two subsidiaries, Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power, is by far the largest purveyor in the state. Combined, NV Energy serves 1,272,645 customers. Other power companies include Overton Power District, Boulder City Electric, Valley Electric Association. Lincoln County Power, Mt. Wheeler Power, Wells Rural Electric, Raft River Rural Electric Cooperative, Harney Electric Cooperative, Surprise Valley Electrification, Fallon Municipal Electric, and Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric. 14 · ISSUE 14· JULY 2018

Although Question 3 would affect all of the power providers in Nevada, NV Energy which serves the major metropolitan areas would be affected the most. In addition to its network of transmission lines, NV Energy owns two renewable energy and ten natural gas power generating plants and is part owner of two coal-fired power generating plants. According to the report from the Public Utilities Commission, if Question 3 is passed, NV Energy would likely have to divest many of its power plants and power generating assets across the state, leaving ratepayers on the hook for between $4 billion and $6 billion in any financial losses incurred by the company. Recently, NV Energy suffered a major loss when MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts elected to purchase their power from other providers. However, in order to receive approval to stop purchasing power from the utility, the companies were required to pay exit fees amounting to $87 million for MGM, $15 million for Wynn. The Las Vegas Sands Corporation had applied to leave NV Energy but backed out after being assessed a $23.9 million fee. Station Casinos which owns ten properties in Southern Nevada has also filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission and expects to receive approval to purchase its power from Morgan Stanley’s energy company around December of 2018. Currently, the option to purchase power from other providers is only available to large companies under a 2001 law that was passed during the Western Energy Crises. At the time, its purpose was to bring new power generation into the state, but the statute has increasingly been used by companies eager to tap into more renewables and take advantage of low natural gas prices.

The Hook of the

by Chris Hoff Twenty years. That’s a long time. Many people complete their entire education from first grade through college in less time. The year 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Barracuda Championship and PGA TOUR golf in northern Nevada. Twenty years. That’s 7,300 days. For the tournament staff and long-time supporters, that is a momentous and BIG number. But, to reflect on and appreciate the tournament’s overarching mission is to know this number: $4 million— now that’s a BIG number. In 2018, the Barracuda Championship and the RenoTahoe Open Foundation will exceed the $4 million mark in charitable contributions. These funds have been distributed to over 100 different charities since 1999. Boys and Girls Clubs, First Tee of Northern Nevada, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Children’s Cabinet, local schools, EDAWN, Discovery Museum... the list goes on. Now, here’s an even BIGGER number. One Billion. Yes, that’s with a “B.” The Barracuda Championship is broadcast live on the Golf Channel which has a global distribution of over one billion households in over 220 countries. When coupled with the PGA TOUR players from countries across the world, the Barracuda Championship truly is northern Nevada’s biggest international sporting event.

Each summer, 132 PGA TOUR professionals and their support team (caddie, coach, nutritionist, etc.) converge in Reno, contributing millions of dollars of economic impact and leaving a lasting impression on fans in attendance. It’s estimated that a PGA TOUR event in a market the size of northern Nevada has an economic impact of $25M annually. The fans, players and support teams are staying in hotels, dining out, spending money in stores and yes, occasionally testing their luck at the tables. For the 20th time, northern Nevada businesses and golf fans have the chance to see some of the best golfers in the world up close and personal. In the past 20 years, seven former or future world number one ranked players have competed here in Reno. Jason Day, Adam Scott, Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson, Bill Haas, Davis Love III; have all have teed it up at Montreux Golf & Country Club. Hospitality opportunities are still available. The Lexus Chalet offers you and your guests unrivaled views of the 18th green and fairway while enjoying food offerings from Reno’s own Mark Estee as well as a full bar featuring Tito’s, Jim Beam, Coors Light and more! There are a limited number of sponsorship opportunities left for this year’s tournament which takes place July 30-August 5. If interested, contact the tournament office at (775) 322-3900 or

In addition to the global exposure the Barracuda Championship brings to northern Nevada, there is a significant and direct economic impact as well. BIZ NEVADA MAGAZINE · WWW.BIZNEVADA.COM · 15

by the Advanced Energy Economy and the Clean Energy Project On June 21, 2018, the Clean Energy Project (CEP) and the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) announced they have delivered a policy roadmap to the Nevada gubernatorial campaigns of Republican nominee Adam Laxalt and Democratic nominee Steve Sisolak outlining how Nevada can grow as a clean energy leader and create jobs. The policy roadmap, “Nevada’s Clean Energy Roadmap: How the next governor can make Nevada’s energy system more secure, clean, and affordable while driving job creation and economic growth,” outlines key marketbased policy considerations Nevada’s next governor can pursue to capture the billions in investment dollars and thousands of jobs that come from embracing the clean energy industry. “This roadmap charts a path for accelerated economic growth for Nevada—one that we anticipate will spur billions in economic growth and thousands of good paying jobs for the state,” said Ray Fakhoury, State Policy, Advanced Energy Economy. “We encourage the next governor of Nevada to adopt these energy policies into their platform as economic development tools that harness the economic potential of the clean energy industry.” In its policy roadmap, AEE presented six key principles for the campaigns to consider: • Increase the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) to secure Nevada’s position as a national clean energy leader. The addition of higher renewable energy targets has the potential to generate an additional $5 billion in wages and create 92,000 jobs in the state. This policy mechanism would also stimulate 16 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

the development of clean energy resources beyond solar and wind, like battery storage, demand response, microgrids, and electric vehicles that reduce energy waste, improve the reliability and resilience of the grid, and keep consumer dollars in state. •

Expand access to clean energy by establishing a community solar program. Many Nevadans still face barriers to accessing clean energy. The state currently does not have a community solar program, which would offer an option for customers, both large and small, to purchase a portion of a large renewable project. Community solar has the potential to meet the needs of a broad range of customers— from residential consumers all the way to large corporations—and has proven to be successful in both regulated and deregulated energy markets. Establish an energy storage requirement. Energy storage is innovatively changing the way to think about electricity and the grid. Strategic deployment of storage can manage supply and demand, shift load to improve grid reliability and resilience, support higher levels of low-cost renewables on the grid and maximize the value of all resources, whether they are large projects or smaller distributed resources. Encourage the electrification of the transportation sector. While these efforts are a substantial step forward, more can be done to incentivize the growth of EVs in the state. The next governor should set an EV goal for the state to strive towards. This will send a clear signal to businesses, consumers, and regulators about Nevada’s ambition to lead the emerging industry of transportation electrification. Expand access to cost-effective energy efficiency and demand response investments. Energy efficiency is the lowest cost and most readily available resource to meet energy demand. Both energy efficiency (savings from reducing energy waste) and demand response (payments for targeted reductions in

energy use during periods of peak demand) have the potential to save money for residents and businesses and create jobs in Nevada. Modernize the electricity system to focus on consumer needs. While various steps were taken to modernize the grid during the 2017 legislative session, Nevada stands to make additional gains by modernizing its energy system to allow innovative technologies to thrive and meet consumer needs.

“Nevada has been on the forefront of the clean energy development, boasting more than 25,000 clean energy jobs,” said Karen Wayland, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Clean Energy Project. “With corporate demand for clean energy on the rise, embracing these policies could secure a legacy as a job-creating governor while making Nevada a more attractive place to do business for both buyers and sellers of innovative energy technologies.” In addition to these policies, the platform also includes executive actions and short, medium and long-term policy options that could further ignite economic growth through the development of clean energy resources.

About Advanced Energy Economy

AEE is a national association of businesses that are making the energy we use secure, clean, and affordable. AEE’s mission is to transform public policy to enable rapid growth of advanced energy businesses. AEE and its state and regional partner organizations are active in 27 states across the country, representing more than 1,000 companies and organizations in the advanced energy industry. Learn more at

About Clean Energy Project

CEP is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to powering a cleaner, more sensible energy future through education and engagement with policy makers, business and community leaders, and citizens on the benefits of developing a clean energy economy. Learn more


How to Foster a

Culture of Safety by Raul Chacon Nevada businesses reported approximately 34,000 nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This equates to an incident rate of 3.7 cases per 100 fulltime workers which was significantly higher than the national average. The report also found more than half of the Nevada incidents were serious and required days away from work, a job transfer or job restriction for the injured employee. Work-related injuries and illnesses negatively impact the affected employee and their family. But they can also hurt the business with out-of-pocket expenses, lost productivity and potentially higher insurance

premiums. For instance, when injured employees are unable to complete their duties, other employees must fill in for their injured co-workers. This may involve overtime pay, temporary workers, or in some cases, hiring a new full-time employee. All of these hidden costs add stressors on already strained operations. Nevada business leaders must commit to fostering a culture of workplace safety to help reverse these trends and keep their employees safe and productive. How to get started It’s important to keep workplace safety at the forefront of operations year-round and there’s no better time than the present to reevaluate and recommit to your business’ safety culture. By investing in workplace safety programs and training, businesses can reduce accidents, increase employee retention and improve productivity. Safety programs protect employees and create real bottomline operational and cost benefits. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an effective safety and health program can save a business owner $4 to $6 for every $1 invested.  A strong workplace safety culture begins with having an effective injury and illness prevention plan and committing to make safety procedures part of everyday operations. Here are four steps Nevada business owners and managers can take toward that goal:

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1. Lead from the top

To be effective, a workplace safety program needs to be more than a dusty binder on a shelf. It requires a commitment from the business’ owners and managers. Management must clearly define safety goals, communicate those goals to employees and set the example for others to follow. If the company’s policy requires all employees wear closed toe, rubber soled shoes, then owners and managers must also follow suit. Not doing so sets a bad example and sends the wrong message.

2. Identify risks

A safer workplace begins with identifying and assessing potential hazards. Business owners and managers should actively analyze workplaces and work-related functions to anticipate and prevent injuries. Additionally, they should make sure all employees understand the potential hazards in their work environments. With businesses in leisure and hospitality and trade, transportation, and utilities accounting for 60 percent of Nevada’s reported occupational injuries and illnesses in 2016, state business leaders should conduct walkthroughs of the work environment and engage with employees to identify top safety risks. For example, hotel housekeepers may be commonly exposed to strains from overexertion or repetitive motion injuries and restaurant staff may be at increased risk of slips, trips and falls from slippery kitchen environments or uneven floors. Once potential hazards have been identified, policies and procedures must be established to allow employees to do their jobs safely. It is also a good practice to revisit the corrective measure implemented to determine if the changes were adequate or if additional measures need to be taken.

recent EMPLOYERS survey, 40 percent of small business employees said their employer does not display OSHA signage prominently or they are not sure if it is displayed.

4. Enforce and evaluate

Business leaders must commit to the company’s safety plan and insist employees follow all related policies and procedures. Failure to comply can lead not only to employee injuries or illnesses, but also steep financial penalties to the business in the form of OSHA fines. Conducting regular workplace safety audits, meetings and training sessions are effective ways to enforce safety rules and keep safety top of mind for management and employees. By committing to a strong safety culture and making safety a part of doing business, Nevada’s companies can help keep their most important assets—their employees— safe while contributing to long-term business success.

How to Create a Culture of Safety in the Workplace EMPLOYERS® recommends the following steps small business owners can take to create a culture of workplace safety that protects their workers: •

Lead by example – It is important to not only communicate safety goals to everyone within the company, but for business owners to set the model example for others to follow.

Identify and assess potential hazards – Business owners should take the time to recognize potential hazards in the work environment and develop policies and procedures to ensure employees can do their jobs safely.

Train and educate regularly – Take the time to train new employees during orientation and set up regular trainings for all employees throughout the year. It is also a good practice to include workplace safety policies in employee handbooks and display safety posters throughout the workplace to remind employees about the business’ safety priorities and procedures.

Enforce and evaluate – Conduct regular workplace safety audits, safety meetings and annual safety training sessions to enforce regulations and keep safety top of mind for employees.

3. Train and educate

Training should be held during each new employee orientation, whether that’s part of a larger seasonal hiring ramp up or when a team member is added, and reinforced regularly. Training sessions should also be held whenever new processes, procedures or equipment are introduced. These sessions should cover how to identify hazards, prevent accidents and respond to injuries. All workplace safety policies should be clearly communicated to employees in a language of their understanding and included in employee handbooks. Business leaders can consult their independent insurance agent and workers’ compensation insurance carrier for available helpful safety materials, such as safety posters, payroll stuffers and written safety policies. They should also be sure to properly display all workplace safety and fair employment practices posters required by OSHA. In a

Raul Chacon is Western Region Loss Control Manager for EMPLOYERS, America’s small business insurance specialist, which offers workers’ compensation insurance and services through Employers Insurance Company of Nevada, Employers Compensation Insurance Company, Employers Preferred Insurance Company, and Employers Assurance Company. Not all insurers do business in all jurisdictions. EMPLOYERS and America’s small business insurance specialist are registered trademarks of Employers Insurance Company of Nevada. BIZ NEVADA MAGAZINE · WWW.BIZNEVADA.COM · 19



JULY 26 4:30-6:30PM RIBBON CUT Lotus Radio Corp 690 E Plumb Lane

TUESDAY MORNINGS Tuesday mornings Fernley Ambassadors The Golf Course at Fernley

JULY 27 8:30-9AM WELCOME NEW MEMBERS 449 South Virginia St. #200 AUGUST 16 5-6:30PM BUSINESS AFTER HOURS Reno Little Theater


7-9 AM WIN Breakfast

NCET JULY 18 3-5PM Biz Café: Peter Fishburn, Brown & Bigelow Tricks of the Trade(show) Rounds Bakery

Bill Stainton: The 5 Best Decisions the Beatles Ever Made Atlantis Casino Resort Spa


JULY 25 11AM-1:30PM Special Event: Panel Presentation The Internet and You: Protecting Your Privacy, Part 1 Atlantis Casino Resort Spa

JULY 18 2-3:30PM Travel Club Meeting featuring Mayflower Tours Carson City Chamber 1900 S. Carson St.

AUGUST 8 5:30-7:30PM Tech Wednesday: ITS Logistic Brokerage 1395 Greg St. #102

AUGUST 17 USAF Band of the Golden West 6-8PM Carson City Community Center 850 E. William St.

lendar of Events CARSON VALLEY CHAMBER JULY-SEPT Every Tuesday Minden Farmers Market 1604 Esmeralda Ave., Minden EVERY SATURDAY Genoa Farmers Market 2285 Genoa St. AUGUST 10 6-9PM 9th Annual “All 4 Charity” King Crab Feed & Steak Cookout Douglas County Community & Senior Center


BNI MEETINGS TUESDAY 7AM Mimi’s Café BizClub Zero Swill Coffee Napa Sonoma South WEDNESDAY 7AM Napa Sonoma South Meadowood Courtyard

THURSDAY 7AM Swill Coffee Lakeridge 19th Hole The Plaza Hotel, Carson City Mimi’s Café Napa Sonoma South THURSDAY 11:30AM Famous Dave’s

OTHER EVENTS THROUGHOUT JULY Artown See for schedule JULY 18 5-7PM Breakthrough Networking Legends Grill JULY 30-AUGUST 5 Barracuda Championship Montreux Golf & Country Club Live television coverage on The Golf Channel AUGUST 10-12 Camp Out Yonder Grizzly Creek Ranch, CA AUGUST 11 Entrepreneurs Assembly Startup Incubator Roundtable Innevation Center 450 Sinclair St.

WEDNESDAY NOON Wildcreek Golf Course Famous Dave’s Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors For more complete and up-to-date calendar information, visit -calendar

Energy-Efficiency in Northern Nevada’s Commercial Sector: HVAC Tips to Propel Your Property’s Efficiency and Save on Overhead Costs

by Ron Ford The northern Nevada community continues to welcome business development and commercial growth. As the region’s booming commercial industry propels economic development, a new focus has shifted toward the industry’s impact on the state’s environment and energy security. Are northern Nevada businesses conscious of reducing waste and improving environmental sustainability? More than 81 billion square feet of commercial floor space spans the United States, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. As northern Nevada commercial industry continues to expand, so does its carbon footprint and energy consumption in the state and nation. Commercial buildings account for 36 percent of all U.S. electricity consumption and cost more than $190 billion in 22 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

energy every year. They are also responsible for 18 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and they consume more than 18 percent of U.S. primary energy, according to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The energy needs for commercial buildings vary but, when viewed as a whole, more than half of the energy used in commercial buildings is split between two functions– heating (36 percent) and lighting (21 percent), according to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. Within the commercial industry, retail stores, restaurants, and services buildings use the most energy. Reducing energy usage in commercial buildings would not only have a tremendous positive impact on our environment, but also would help local businesses reduce operating costs and optimize savings.

Here’s how: 1.

Call a qualified heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) commercial services division. HVAC accounts for the largest percentage of building energy use. Sierra Air, Inc.’s certified HVAC contractors will visit any commercial property for a free consultation and provide guidance on necessary HVAC maintenance, upgrades and modifications. Sierra Air’s commercial services and maintenance programs include complete system design and installation, duct work, preventive maintenance and more. “Give us a call if you’re unsure that your property is running at optimal efficiency,” Rickey Hayes, Marketing Manager for Sierra Air, said. “Our technicians will examine your equipment and let you know if you have a good HVAC unit that just needs scheduled maintenance, or if you need replaced parts or a new energy-efficient system. Simple maintenance is the key. You can buy a $100,000 car but, if you don’t ever get the oil changed, it’s not going to last you forever.” Regular quality HVAC maintenance can help reduce costs by nearly 40 percent, as regular maintenance (monthly maintenance for optimal efficiency) ensures that the system is not wasting energy due to substandard, aging or faulty performance.

2. Reduce wasted energy by 5-10 percent by changing

HVAC filters. When was the last time you changed your commercial property’s HVAC filters? If you’re not changing your property’s HVAC filters monthly, you’re most likely increasing overhead costs. Dirty filters overwork HVAC systems by restricting air flow, therefore reducing efficiency, causing poor indoor air quality, and increasing costs. Poor air quality and inhibited air flow can significantly impact employee productivity, as temperature and humidity in the workplace have a direct impact on workplace efficiency.

“If you have a quality HVAC system, you’re going to see increased employee productivity,” Hayes said. “Research shows that well-maintained HVAC systems result in an increase in employee comfort and a decrease in sick days.”


Improve efficiency and save costs by up to 25 percent with HVAC upgrades and/or replacement. Although changing filters and properly sealing heating and cooling ducts can significantly increase efficiency and decrease costs, the best ways to improve HVAC operations include upgrading or replacing existing HVAC equipment and systems, as running HVAC systems and equipment past their suggested lifespans leads to exorbitant energy and maintenance costs. New HVAC technology continues to pave the way for increased energy conservation, helping to reduce costs and promote environmental sustainability. HVAC manufacturers including Carrier and Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating lead the way in HVAC advances, as both manufacturers have developed efficient ductless minisplit heating and cooling systems that permit businesses to control the temperatures in individual rooms or spaces. Sierra Air carries and champions both Carrier and Mitsubishi systems, as these new technological advances allow individual spaces to be targeted, helping to avoid spending energy and money in unwanted areas of large– and even small–commercial properties. “These mini-spit systems provide independent control, a zone-type effect between offices,” Ted Lenzora, Team Leader of Sierra Air, said. “They’re really going to be the products that we see in the future, the prominent products in the office setting.”

For more information about optimizing your company’s operations by reducing costs and increasing efficiency, call Sierra Air at 775-8005500 or visit Our Certified HVAC technicians will deliver expert service on your HVAC systems, providing top-notch, comprehensive energy-saving equipment service and replacement.


Business Spotlight – Employer Lynx


EYES WIDE OPEN By Corrine Casanova When it comes to background checks, you don’t want to be in the dark. During the hiring process, ignorance is not bliss. Having your eyes wide open is a better option. Employer Lynx, Inc. is a Nevada based full-service background investigation company specializing in employee and tenant screenings. The company’s name came from a managing partner who was fascinated by the Native American culture and their use of 24 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

animal symbols. The lynx is the knower of all secrets and is often viewed as smirking as if it knows a secret that nobody else does. K.J. Smith, Employer Lynx managing partner and licensed Nevada private investigator, noted, “The lynx is a powerful symbol which accurately defines what this company does so the name stuck.” Secrets can be deadly to a company of any size especially when it comes to

compliance issues, the embezzlement of funds or illegal activities of employees. With two million assaults and threats of violence in the workplace occurring each year in the U.S., employee safety is another facet of background screenings. There are some misconceptions about what background checks are designed to do. Smith explained, “Background screening isn’t here to keep people from working. Instead,

it is here to provide a safe place for employees to work and where they feel safe. These screenings help protect the company from liabilities and help them avoid violating federal or state laws while providing information vital for choosing a great hire and peace of mind.” “A lot of companies rely on the Internet to do their background screenings but they aren’t aware of the federal guidelines and specific state laws. One of our current clients which is a large company came to us after using a national agency online where they received an instant response to a background check. Initially, they told us they were really happy with their current service because they weren’t getting any hits. What they didn’t realize is that they weren’t digging deep enough and just receiving the surface results. Since they have come on board with us they actually have a true idea of the person that they are hiring. They were shocked by the results and now very happy that they know the truth,” said Jenny Hunsaker, Director of Operations. Employer Lynx takes the mystery out of background screening and is a safety net for employers as it provides detailed verified information about potential hires and their employees. Being local agency allows them to react quickly and provide excellent customer service especially if any issues crop up. “We are very well steeped in Nevada law but we have to know how to deal with other states and other countries too. As a result, we do a lot of research which is continually being updated. In fact, we have contractual relationships with researchers from all over the world. We are a Nevada based company with a global reach,” said Smith.

Recently, Employer Lynx created a new program that focuses on safety in the workplace where annual background checks are conducted on current employees. In some industries such as transportation or mining, this is already a requirement but most companies in other industries don’t do it. Smith explained, “When

you’ve been in business for 10 years, some employees on staff may have never had a background check. That’s a problem. When people go off the clock, you don’t know what they are doing. As Nevada is a gaming state it becomes a true problem. When you provide a safe workplace, that message is strong for both the employer and employees.”

Employer Lynx provides a free comparative analysis of background screening services. “We are happy to talk to any company even if they are currently doing background screenings to analyze if there are any holes in what they are getting. Several companies have come on board with us when they realize the gap of what they thought they were receiving and what they were getting. The cost of our service is comparable to one day’s wage of whatever level of employee you are hiring for. Consider one day’s wage versus the cost of a liability issue or embezzlement. When you think about it, it’s pretty minimal,” concluded Hunsaker. If you’d like to conduct your background checks from the eyes wide open perspective, contact Employer Lynx at 775-883-3733 or visit



Taking on the Myths and Facts by Susan Opyrchal

We all want to be environmentally sensitive and yet there are some myths that have grown up like bacteria in a broken refrigerator that have given print and mail a bad smell.

thirds of wood harvested for paper comes from familyowned farms measuring less than 50 acres. These small farmers, mostly in rural areas, depend on the paper industry for their livelihood.

Myth: The paper and packaging industry is destroying our forests, making a fast buck at the expense of future generations.

Sixty percent of the power used to produce paper in the U.S. is generated by renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydroelectric power. Paper plants use leftover biofuels to generate bioenergy,  which diverts landfill waste, decreases paper’s carbon footprint, and reduces fossil fuel dependency.

Fact: Paper production supports sustainable forest management. Source after source confirmed that more trees are planted each year than are harvested. The paper industry plants 1.7 million trees every single day which is three times what they harvest. In 1992, there was 360 percent more wood in the forest than in 1920. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of men and women, and working forests are good for the environment, providing clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. Nearly two26 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

Claims like, “go paperless, switch to eBilling to save a tree, hard copy printing destroys the forests, printing and mailing have high carbon footprints, people would rather receive electronic messages, and printing should use recycled paper only,” create a false impression that forests are a finite resource, on the verge of extinction. In truth, North American forests are a renewable resource that is continuously replenished using sustainable forest management. In fact, over the last six decades, the net total U.S. Forest area has increased by over 3% and the net volume of trees on timberland has increased by 58%.

Interestingly, 60 percent of paper today is recycled compared to 18 percent of electronic devices. Environmentally-friendly inks are another industry standard that have been set in place over the last decade. By using compounds derived from vegetables and fruits, the print industry has managed to shrink its negative effects on the environment while supporting farmers nationwide. DigiPrint has been providing printed materials such as catalogs, brochures, flyers, business cards, envelopes and more to the Reno/ Sparks/Carson City/Tahoe area for over 27 years and is a full mail house, too. In addition to using the renewable resource of paper (biomass), we are also big on recycling. We recycle a large green dumpster’s worth of paper scraps and flattened boxes weekly. We also recycle the pallets that our paper is delivered on. *Information for this article was obtained from FSSI Document Outsourcing Specialists of California, Herron Printing of Gaithersburg, Maryland and Arkansas Graphics of Little Rock. DigiPrint is a locally owned printer specializing in quick turnaround and pre-sorted mailings. For more information, visit


Strategic Planning for Small Business: Thinking BIG Even if You’re Small by Joe Ross I have worked with small business

owners for a very long time. As a marketing agency, OCG Creative is approached every day by owners and managers looking for help meeting their growth objectives. Most often, they have something in mind. They’ll ask about a website, social media plan, print ads, or more sophisticated tools like automation, CRM or ERP. All of these can be incredibly powerful, but only when framed within the context of specific business goals. The purpose of this article is to provide tools to help you assess opportunities and frame your competitive landscape—ultimately, carving out a greater share of your market. In other words, to help you to think and act like a much larger company.

How Big is Big?

The definition of “big” can vary depending on your perspective. 28 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

For this purpose, we’ll define big based on market position, resources, perspective and operating practices. These are market leaders in a given industry or region. They not only dominate their market, but have ample resources to remain on top. The executive team is nimble and focused on growth strategies and market influences as much as daily operations. Management can be a team of two or twenty-two, so long as those criteria are met. In fact, all the requisite traits can be present in a single individual. Regardless of actual size, “big” companies have the brains and resources to continue to attract the most customers.

The Difference Between Small and Big

I’ve observed common traits smaller companies tend to share. Almost always, the business was started by a passionate founder with mad skills and a sincere desire to be in the business he or she is in. Frequently, that same individual operates inside the business, performing all the

duties required for daily operations. Focus is task oriented, and tactics are more about survival than growth and profits. There are many “lifestyle” business owners that wouldn’t have it any other way. But, for others, the “lifestyle” can evolve into a daily grind, which is not fun at all. What to do?

Orienting Your Business for Growth

Business leaders understand their first responsibility is to shareholders. Public or private, shareholders expect a profit from their investment in resources. If you own a small business, “shareholders” means YOU. Notice I said “resources” rather than invested capital? Resources certainly includes capital, but your greatest resource is also you. It is essential that you invest that resource wisely so that there is a handsome payoff for your primary shareholder. Treat your time like any other investment. Expect a profit, and invest differently if you aren’t seeing it.

Understanding market share

Any business worth being in has competitors. It is natural to view competition in terms of “us versus them” when what really matters is market size, growth and relative market share. Here are a few terms big businesses use to assess their competitive landscape. TAM: TAM stands for total available market and represents the total demand for your product or service. TAM can represent a very large segment. Imagine a product like canned peas. TAM is useful for assessing service businesses as well. The important thing is to understand the industry you are in and where it’s headed. SAM: This is the serviceable available market. This is the subset of the TAM that is within reach of your business. Trade organizations, business journals, the government and even your local university can help you determine the SAM in your market. SOM: Sometimes termed, “where we play,” this is the serviceable obtainable market. It is the subset of the SAM your co mpany is equipped to pursue. Once you understand the unbiased scope of your market, you can asses your position in it. This represents a tidal shift in strategic thinking. Knowing the numbers will provide clues about what your next move should be, given your available resources.

The Truth About Marketing

It is often said that 90% of marketing dollars are wasted. There are hundreds of reasons, but a common theme in unsuccessful marketing efforts is that they focus on the business rather than the consumer. It might sound harsh, but no one cares that you’re the number 1 dry cleaner for over 60 years. Dry cleaning customers care that their shirts are clean and starched just the way they like. They care that they don’t have to park a block away. They care that

your kids play soccer together. Marketing must be about the consumer. Your message should address their desire to make their lives better through your product or service. How you deliver that message depends on the business you are in. Social media might be a huge influencer, or not at all. Same for radio commercials, PPC, etc. Before investing in marketing, be certain a given channel will reach your intended market, and get the messaging right.

See if you are getting the right coverage at the right price. For more than 100 years, EMPLOYERS® has specialized in providing value added services and competitively priced workers’ compensation insurance for America’s small businesses.

Next steps It’s time to formulate a plan, so grab your pencil and make two

columns on a sheet of paper. Label the first, “What I know.” Label the other, “What I need to know.” Start with the TAM, SAM and SOM. Chances are you’ll need to do some research. If so, these go in the “need to know” column. Do the same for anything you can think of that is important to your business. In particular, list the things your customers care about, where they hang out, demographics, etc. Include what you know and don’t know about your competitors. Eventually, you’ll want multiple lists specific to certain aspects of your business. Commonly, these will include your customers, competitors and market forces. Chances are, you’ll disco ver dozens of things you “need to know.” The next step is to do the research to find answers. That process alone will shed light on potential strategic moves that will make you a stronger competitor. Longer term, the information you gather here can be used to form the basis of a reliable blueprint for growth. The important thing is to get started.

OCG Creative is a growth-driven web design and digital marketing firm specializing in all areas related to business marketing, as well as client retention, lead generation, web engineering, CRM and print.

Get the EMPLOYERS Price & Performance

Review today which includes: Free Analysis Clear Price & Support Comparisons Concise Coverage Evaluation

Get Started Today Call: (877) 572-4761 Visit: An independent agent will contact you and perform your Price & Performance Review.

Copyright © 2018 EMPLOYERS. All rights reserved. In Nevada, insurance is offered through Employers Insurance Company of Nevada, Employers Compensation Insurance Company and Employers Assurance Company. EIG Services, Inc. is an affiliated agency and adjuster. Coverage not available in all jurisdictions. CM_0080AD_NV


Sunny Days Ahead: by Craig A. Ruark

December 23, 2015, was a dark day for Nevadan’s with a rooftop solar system mounted on their home. Not because the sun didn’t shine. But because that was the day the Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) ruled that the “Net Metering” rates customers would receive for selling excess power back to the grid, 30 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

would be significantly lowered, and therefore eliminating the return on rooftop solar investments. The average homeowner pays about 12.5 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity during peak hours of the day. Before the PUC ruling, a homeowner with a rooftop solar system that generated more energy

than was used could sell the excess power to the grid at about 12 cents per hour. The excess power would more than likely simply travel to the nearest neighbor who did not have solar panels and power company would in effect make one-half a cent on the sale of that power. Based on the energy savings and the sale of excess

The Current State of Nevada’s Roof Top Solar power, the return on investment for the average solar installation was about seven years. After the PUC ruling, starting in 2016, the amount of credit that customers would receive from the sale of their excess power dropped to 9.199 cents per kilowatt hour and would

continue dropping by roughly 2 cents per kilowatt hour each year until the year 2020 when it bottomed at 2.69 cents per hour. In addition, home and business owners with a solar system were to be charged a monthly impact fee. While a rooftop solar system still lowered the homeowner’s electric bill,

the addition of the impact fee and the lower net metering credit structure for excess energy purchased, meant that the return on investment (ROI) was stretched out to around 20 or more years and the ruling essentially killed the industry. However, on June 15, 2017, the sun


began to emerge from behind its dark cloud, thanks to Assembly Bill 405 (AB 405). Under that bill, a new net metering rate structure was devised for renewable energy systems of not more than 25 kilowatts, which is typical of a rooftop solar system installed at a home or small business. Contrary to the previous ruling which levied an impact fee on rooftop solar owners, AB 405 stated that “net metering customers will remain in the same customer class as nonnet metering customers and cannot be charged any fee or charge that is different than that charged to non-net metering customers. Net Metering customers will pay the same basic service charge and other fees as nonnet metering customers.” AB 405 also established a more realistic tiered net metering rate and customers who sign up at a specific net metering rate (listed below) are guaranteed that rate for 20 years, but it only applies to the location where the system was originally installed. The amount of money paid for excess energy is based on a percent of the retail rate that the energy company charges its customers for electricity. (“Retail rate” is defined as the Base Tariff General Rate (“BTGR”), Base Tariff Energy Rate (“BTER”) and Deferred Energy Accounting Adjustment (“DEAA”) Rate combined. For more information on the BTGR, BTER, and DEAA, please review the PUCN’s Northern Nevada Electric Rates & Charges or Southern Nevada Electric Rates & Charges fact sheets.) •

95% of the retail rate: This is the current net metering rate and will be in effect until the amount of electricity produced by net metering systems signed up at this tier equals 80 megawatts. 88% of the retail rate: The net metering rate will decrease to 88% of the retail rate when the amount of electricity produced by net metering systems under the

32 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

95% tier equals 80 megawatts. 81% of the retail rate: The net metering rate will decrease to 81% of the retail rate when the amount of electricity produced by net metering systems under the 88% tier equals 80 megawatts 75% of the retail rate: The net metering rate will decrease to 75% of the retail rate when the amount of electricity produced by net metering systems under the 81% tier equals 80 megawatts.

With the passage of AB 405, applications for rooftop solar went from 287 in 2016 to 3,308 in 2017. Solar advocates and industry leaders say Nevada’s rooftop solar success story shows how quickly a stable policy foundation can deliver economic benefits to the state. Since the passage of AB 405, most residents in Nevada have been receiving an onslaught of flyers and phone calls soliciting for “No-Cost” solar. However, most people realize that there is no such thing as “free” anything. There are three ways that a resident or business can put solar to work for them on their roof:

1. Purchase a system.

While the cost of residential solar has dropped by approximately 70 percent between 2010 and 2016, the systems are not cheap. But, a Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which can be applied to solar systems can reduce the cost. However, you must have an income level that can take advantage of that credit. The ITC is available at the rate of 30 percent until 2019. That amount drops to 26 percent in 2020, then to 22 percent in 2021, and levels out at 10 percent from 2022 onward. Financing options can include home improvement loans, and some solar companies offer a low-interest loan with a 10 to 15-year term.

To offset the payments on the solar system, home and business owners have a much lower monthly energy bill, and they receive net metering credits for the energy they sell back to the grid. Most “quality” solar systems come with a 20 to 25-year warranty which means, after the system is paid off in 10 to 15-years, the energy savings benefits greatly increase. And since the solar system is owned, it becomes an asset should the house be sold.

2. Lease a solar system.

In a lease, the homeowner still receives the benefit of a lower “fixed” energy rate but does not receive any ITC credits and the leasing company, not the homeowner, receives the net metering credits.

3. A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).

Under a PPA plan, customers purchase the power that is produced from their rooftop system at a discounted rate from what they would normally pay to the electric utility. The advantage is that the homeowner does not pay any money upfront and only pays for the amount of electricity used. With both the lease and PPA options, the homeowner is still paying more for power than if they owned the system and were receiving net metering credits, but the rate is less than the retail rate charged by the power provider. However, if the owner decides to sell the home or business, the new owner would be obligated to take over the contract, which could be a sticking point for some buyers. The other option in a sale situation is for the current owner to buy out the remainder of the contract before selling the property. As with any contract, it is best to carefully read all of the terms and conditions and perhaps get legal advice before signing an agreement.

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On the Ballot:


A. Ruark

On June 18th, Representatives of Nevadan’s for a Clean Energy Future and dignitaries, gathered outside the election registrar’s office to present over 230,000 signatures collected from all of the Counties across the state, to place initiative “50by30,” on the ballot in the upcoming mid-term election.

Nevada’s largest generating plant uses high-efficiency natural gas combined-cycle technology and recycles three-fourths of the water it uses, minimizing the use of the state’s scarce water resources. In 2016, 73 percent of the state’s electricity generation came from natural gas.

Under Nevada law, ballot initiatives and referendums require at least 112,544 signatures from registered Nevada voters, including at least 28,136 in four “petition districts” (which have the same boundaries as the state’s four congressional districts). The last day to submit signatures was June 19.

Nevada ranked second in the nation in utility-scale net electricity generation from geothermal energy and fourth in utility-scale net generation from solar energy in 2016; 16.2 percent of Nevada’s utility-scale net electricity generation in 2016 came from those two sources.

The Nevadan’s for a Clean Energy Future is a bi-partisan collation of local partners advocating for a healthier state environment by harvesting clean, renewable energy and is calling for a mandate that NV Energy generates 50 percent of its power from renewable sources by the year 2030. Currently, the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is 25 percent by 2025.

Nevada’s Energy Portfolio Standard requires that 25 percent of electricity sales come from renewable energy resources by 2025; in 2016, 21.6 percent of Nevada’s utility-scale net electricity generation came from geothermal, solar, wind, biomass, and hydroelectric power sources.

According to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration: •

About 88 percent of the energy Nevada consumes comes from outside the state.

In 2016, geothermal resources fueled more than 44 percent of Nevada’s renewably sourced electricity generation and nearly 10 percent of Nevada’s total net electricity generation, a larger share than in any other state. The Nevada RPS was first adopted by the Nevada Legislature in 1997 and has been modified nearly every legislative session since then. The current requirement BIZ NEVADA MAGAZINE · WWW.BIZNEVADA.COM · 35

states that at least six percent of the total renewable energy portfolio must be generated by solar facilities by 2016. Of the 25 percent total mandate, 50 percent must come from residential solar installations. Nevada’s RPS, when originally initiated 21 years ago, was one of the first and best in the nation. Nevada was five years ahead of California and ten years before Oregon. However, since that time, more states have initiated much stronger portfolio standards, and Nevada’s standard does not rank among the “Top Ten” Standards. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, 38 states and Washington D.C. have some sort of a renewable energy minimum production standard. During the ceremony to submit signatures, former State Senator Warren Hardy remarked that he has spent a lot of his career supporting the idea that a strong Renewable Portfolio Standard, “is the right thing to do, but it is also imperative for the State of Nevada from an economic development standpoint to make this happen.” “We have set our sights on, and indicated to the rest of the Country, that we want to be the center of the Universe in terms of technical advancements and renewables, yet our policy does not currently match that aspiration,” said Hardy. 36 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018

In 2017, a bi-partisan Assembly Bill No. 206, sponsored by assemblymen Brooks, Frierson, Yeager, McCurdy II, and Fumo was introduced and passed that would require an update to the Comprehensive State Energy Plan, every two years. The Bill also required “The assessment of technically feasible and economically viable pathways for providers of electric service within this State to achieve by 2040 the goal of generating or acquiring an amount of annual renewable energy production equal to at least 80 percent of the total amount of electricity sold by providers of electric service in this state.” To reach that goal, the Bill introduced a stepped process of years and goals, including “not less than 50 percent” by the calendar year 2030. Assembly Bill No. 206 was passed by a 30-12 vote in the Assembly and a 12-9 vote in the Senate but was Vetoed by Governor Sandoval. This new Initiative, which would require the state to amend the Constitution to eventually increase its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 50 percent by 2030, if approved by voters in 2018 would need to pass again in 2020 before it could be adopted.


THE SILVER STATE by Donovan Resh, Nevada Public Radio Nearly 40 years ago, the first National Public Radio (NPR) affiliate station in southern Nevada made its debut in Las Vegas. Today, 93 percent of Nevada’s population is reached by Nevada Public Radio’s (NVPR) broadcast signals, more than 200,000 choose the organization’s broadcast and published content each month, and it’s all sustained by more than 11,000 contributing members that leverage corporate and foundation support. Operating as a Nevada Registered Non-Profit since 1980, NVPR has remained true to its mission to enrich the lives of all Nevadans through trusted journalism and cultural content that embraces diverse perspectives and complex topics with fairness, context, and editorial independence. NVPR’s broadcast network includes three FM stations serving Nevadans - News 88.9 KNPR and Classical 89.7 in Las Vegas, and music discovery channel NV89 in Reno. Launched in April of 2017, NV89 are champions of local music and purveyors of emerging artists. Fans of Reno’s vibrant music scene can now hear Battle Born bands every hour and see those bands live on stage every week during NV89’s live shows downtown. At its core, the expansion into northern Nevada marked an investment that also allows NVPR to provide new audiences, including Carson City residents, with its public affairs program “State of Nevada.” Combined with five associate stations, 12 translator stations, and HD digital channels, NVPR serves a geographical area of more than 67,000 square miles including parts of California, Utah, and Arizona. Each month, NVPR publishes Desert Companion, southern Nevada’s award-winning city magazine. Each issue celebrates the pursuits, passions, and aspirations of its communities with award-winning lifestyle journalism,

design, and events, like the annual Photo Showcase, which encourages amateur and professional photographers statewide to submit their best work to the magazine. NVPR touches the lives of all Nevadans in ways they may not be aware of, sometimes in our most dire times of need. The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is part of the Nevada infrastructure network that helps keep people informed in preparation for or in the heart of an emergency. Throughout Nevada, this may entail forest fires, flash floods, high winds, Amber Alerts, hazardous waste spills or other crisis scenarios. Wherever you are, emergency broadcast information originates through NVPR’s expansive and reliable network. Other media outlets (cable, local tv, cell phone providers) activate their notifications to you when they receive an originating alert from KNPR. NVPR is an on-ramp to community, sparking conversation and creating a space for storytelling and discovery. And, in many instances, self-discovery, too. Throughout the U.S., more than 30 million people listen to NPR programs and newscasts every week. Even with a proliferation of ways to get news, music, and entertainment, NPR stations nationwide are enjoying a surge of audience growth that began in 2014 and accelerated after the 2016 election. NPR has been at the forefront of podcasting, apps, and inhome devices making sure that national and local content is available no matter how you choose to consume it. In Nevada, local investments in original journalism over the last decade have propelled Nevada Public Radio to toptier status among the 264 NPR affiliates nationwide. In the Silver State, Nevada Public Radio has grown into an institution that truly “connects” – our communities, our cultures and our state with a broader conversation.


38 · ISSUE 14 · JULY 2018


bizNEVADA North Vol. 2 Issue 14  
bizNEVADA North Vol. 2 Issue 14