LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada’s green goal of being 50% clean energy by 2030 could receive a boost towards its mission if EV charging infrastructure becomes Clark County’s newest mandate on Tuesday.
Clark County Commissioners will discuss and potentially act on a proposed ordinance on Tuesday morning that would require most new developments to include capabilities to charge electric vehicles. The item initially entered commissioner chambers back in April 2021 as officials discussed how to improve air quality and public health while simultaneously reducing GHG emissions.
Since then, Clark County Department of Environment and Sustainability Director Marci Henson said all local municipalities and relevant state agencies, development communities, and environmental advocates have collaborated to create the final ordinance commissioners will discuss Tuesday.
“We want to make sure that we have the infrastructure ready for when that market transformation takes place, and that people feel confident that they can get from place to place and they’re not going to run low on their battery,” Henson said inside the Clark County Government Center Monday afternoon.
Different types of developments would require different amounts of infrastructure, triggered at different base amounts of on-site parking.
For example, government buildings with 50 parking spaces or more would require 25% to have EV charging capabilities and 3% to have EV charging stations, while office parks, retail, and shopping centers with 100 parking spaces or more would require 10% to have EV charging capabilities and 3% to have EV charging stations.
However, the costs of doing so would come out of the developer’s pockets, something that agencies have publicly said is a burden amidst the increasing costs of building.
Clark County School District Interim Chief of Facilities Mark Campbell, for one, is quoted in the meeting agenda as saying, “The district is already in a state where every bond dollar spent on new schools and modernizations is critical, as there is currently a $6 billion shortfall in bond dollars available for required work over the next 13 years.”
Then, comes the unknown if Nevada’s electrical grid can withstand the increased power usage.
Amanda Moss, Southern Nevada Home Builders Association Senior Director of Government Affairs, wrote in a statement to 8 News Now that, “given our current market conditions and unknowns about the potential impact of electrification on our grid’s capacity, we are cautious about any major shift in policy to ensure we strike the right balance between planning for the future and what could negatively impact access to the housing market and affordability.”
It’s a potential for “over-regulation,” Rod Martin, Co-Chair of the NAIOP Southern Nevada Government Affairs Committee said. He confirmed that he was included in the initial collaboration between agencies and the county that has yielded a “scaled-down” version of what it once was.
However, he still believes complications remain.
“There are potentially significant costs depending on how an ordinance may take its final shape. There’s practicality issues from the standpoint of commercial development,” Martin said during a virtual interview Monday morning. “I think in a lot of those commercial applications, it is applicable. Where you just start getting questions is, should it be everywhere? And should you have a requirement in warehouse facilities? Industrial facilities? Office facilities? And so forth.”
When 8 News Now took funding concerns to the county department director, Henson said the ordinance is “coming at a good time. The Inflation Reduction Act just passed congress and there are a lot of, particularly, tax incentives for developers who might want to install this sort of infrastructure. Then we are seeing an increase in rebates and incentives coming from the electricity providers as well.”
She added that information from the initial collaboration shows, on average, the additional costs would add less than 1% of the project’s total cost. Compared to retrofitting parking spaces with these capabilities after completion, developers save $2,040 to $4,635 per space, according to Clark County data.
Additionally, she added that developers will have the opportunity to seek an exemption or alternative to the ordinance through a waiver that county commissioners or the director of Clark Count’s Department of Comprehensive Planning will assess.
If approved Tuesday, Henson said the ordinance could go into effect between the Spring and Summer time. Also in the new year, Assembly Bill 44 will provide more funding for these charging capabilities in low-income homes and neighborhoods.
The Clark County Board of Commissioners meets the first and third Tuesday of each month in the Clark County Commission Chambers at 9 a.m.