Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Environmental and Occupational Health

First Committee Member

Lung-Wen Chen

Second Committee Member

Mark P. Buttner

Third Committee Member

Maxim Gakh

Fourth Committee Member

Emma Bloomfield

Number of Pages



In recent years, there have been tremendous efforts to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy to mitigate emissions of greenhouse gases and air pollutants in the United States. Nevada was among the first states that established the renewable portfolio standards (RPS), requiring a certain percentage of electricity sold to the customers for consumption coming from renewable resources. The recent Nevada Senate Bill 358, signed by Nevada’s Governor in 2019, set a target that by 2030 not less than 50% of electricity sold in Nevada should come from renewable resources. This research investigates how this Bill could provide health benefits for Nevada residents via improved air quality and how these benefits depend on total electricity demand under different economic conditions. This study also evaluated the breakdown of benefits by health endpoints and estimated how the health benefits are spread over Nevada counties and surrounding states. This study created and used two scenarios with high and low projected electricity demands in 2030. For each scenario, emission reductions due to the RPS implementation and their associated health benefits were assessed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s AVoided Emissions and geneRation Tool (AVERT) and CO–Benefits Risk Assessment (COBRA) models. Based on this analysis, implementation of SB 358 was shown to produce health benefits equivalent to $3–8 million per year for Nevada residents and up to $140 million per year for the entire U.S. from reducing mortality and nonfatal heart attacks. These benefits were not uniformly spread across Nevada counties, with obvious total health benefits in Clark and Washoe County and higher per-capita benefits in Storey and Humboldt County. Nevada residents would acquire more health benefits if electricity demands will be lower by 2030 ($3.3-$7.6 million in the low-demand scenario compared with $3.0-$6.9 million in the high-demand scenario). Moreover, the study revealed that Nevada is ranked only sixth among ten states benefiting most from the policy, as California and Washington obtain the most health benefits. These findings may empower public support of RPS policies and energy conservation to reduce air pollution and improve public health for the region.

Controlled Subject

Renewable energy sources;Public health;Nevada


Public Health

File Format


File Size

1572 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit

Included in

Public Health Commons