Follow the Money: Industry stalwarts, new players dominate the nearly half million in energy donations to lawmakers

Between attempts to revive net metering, raise the state’s renewable energy production to 80 percent of the total by 2040 and the looming possibility of a deregulated energy market, energy issues are taking a front and center role at the Legislature this year.

While typical power players doled out big campaign checks, the growth of solar and other renewable energy interests has expanded the influence of the industry, which gave more than $493,000 to Nevada lawmakers during the 2016 election cycle.

While the bulk of the donations came from utilities such as NV Energy ($158,500) and Southwest Gas ($92,850), renewable energy businesses such as SolarCity ($82,500) and Ormat Nevada ($63,000) also sent major checks to lawmakers.

Democrats, who control both houses, received almost twice as much energy money. Democrats took in more than $322,000 from members of the energy industry, while Republicans received slightly more than $163,000. Sixty-two of the 63 members of the Legislature reported receiving donations from a business in the energy sector, with the sole exception being Republican Assemblyman Al Kramer.

Donations mostly flowed to legislative leadership and lawmakers in tough re-election bids, with Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford ($40,338) and former Democratic caucus leader Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams ($28,000) receiving the most donations.

Chairs of the two legislative subcommittees on energy issues — Assemblyman Chris Brooks and Sen. Pat Spearman — also received substantial donations, with Brooks (a longtime renewable energy advocate and lobbyist) receiving slightly more than $15,050 and Spearman taking in $14,300 throughout the 2016 campaign cycle.

Below, we’ve listed every energy-related business and industry player that gave money to lawmakers in 2017, listed in descending contribution amount. Though we double- and triple-checked the numbers, if you see anything off or have any questions feel free to reach out to us at rsnyder@thenvindy.com or megan@thenvindy.com.

TOP 10 ENERGY INDUSTRY DONOR RECIPIENTS

  • $40,338 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $28,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $27,750 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $26,750 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $25,750 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $23,250 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $17,025 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $16,000 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $15,050 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $14,300 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)

NV Energy: $158,500

  • $10,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $9,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $7,500 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $6,500 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $5,500 to Assemblyman John Hambrick (R)
  • $5,000 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $5,000 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $4,000 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $4,000 to Senator Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • $4,000 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $3,500 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $3,500 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $3,000 to Assemblyman Ozzie Fumo (D)
  • $3,000 to Senator David Parks (D)
  • $3,000 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $3,000 to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R)
  • $3,000 to Assemblyman Keith Pickard (R)
  • $3,000 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)
  • $3,000 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $3,000 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)
  • $3,000 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Heidi Swank (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Lesley Cohen (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Patricia Farley (R)
  • $2,000 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Becky Harris (R)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R)
  • $2,000 to Senator Ben Kieckhefer (R)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Tick Segerblom (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblyman William McCurdy (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Yvanna Cancela (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Skip Daly (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Richard McArthur (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Robin Titus (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Brittney Miller (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Amber Joiner (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator James Settelmeyer (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Jim Wheeler (R)
  • $1000 to Assemblyman Justin Watkins (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman James Marchant

Southwest Gas: $92,850

  • $9,500 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $9,500 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $7,750 to James Oscarson (R)
  • $6,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $4,250 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $3,000 to Senator James Settelmeyer (R)
  • $3,000 to Senator Patricia Farley (I)
  • $2,500 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $2,500 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (D)
  • $2,250 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $2,250 to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R)
  • $2,250 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $2,000 to Senator Pete Goicoechea
  • $1,750 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $1,250 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $1,250 to Senator David Parks (D)
  • $1,250 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Yvanna Cancela (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Brittney Miller (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman John Ellison (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman John Hambrick (R)
  • $1,000 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Justin Watkins (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Michael Roberson (R)
  • $1,000 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D)
  • $750 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $750 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $750 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $750 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $750 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $750 to Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (D)
  • $750 to Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury
  • $750 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Daniele Monroe-Moreno (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Heidi Swank (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Keith Pickard (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Skip Daly (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman William McCurdy (D)

SolarCity, a major solar panel installer: $82,500

  • $7,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $5,000 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $5,000 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $5,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $5,000 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $5,000 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $5,000 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $5,000 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $5,000 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Amber Joiner (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblyman Chris Edwards
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblyman William McCurdy (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)
  • $1,000 to Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Sandra Jauregui (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Yvanna Cancela (D)

Ormat Nevada, a geothermal energy company with several projects in Nevada: $63,000

  • $3,500 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $3,500 to Senator Becky Harris (R)
  • $3,000 to Senator Ben Kieckhefer (R)
  • $3,000 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante-Adams
  • $2,500 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $2,500 to Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R)
  • $2,000 to Senator David Parks (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $2,000 to Senator James Settelmeyer (R)
  • $2,000 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $2,000 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $2,000 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $2,000 to Senator Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • $2,000 to Senator Tick Segerblom (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)
  • $1,500 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Amber Joiner (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R)
  • $1,000 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Mo Denis (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Nelson Araujo (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Patricia Farley (NP)
  • $1,000 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Edwards (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Daniele-Monroe Moreno (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Edgar Flores (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Ellen Spiegel (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman John Hambrick (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Justin Watkins (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Keith Pickard (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Richard Carrillo (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Will McCurdy (D)

Valley Electric, a nonprofit electric co-op based in Pahrump, Nevada: $29,250

  • $7,000 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $3,000 to Senator Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • $2,500 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $2,500 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $2,500 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $2,500 to Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R)
  • $2,500 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $1,500 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $1,250 to Senator Patricia Farley (I)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $500 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson (D)

Sempra Energy, an energy company that operates a natural gas plant and several solar facilities in Nevada: $21,000

  • $5,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $3,000 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $2,500 to Senator Ben Kieckhefer (R)
  • $2,500 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $2,000 to Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante Adams (D)
  • $1,000 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $1,000 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $1,000 to Senator Joe Hardy (R)
  • $1,000 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Melissa Woodbury (R)

Mt. Wheeler Power, an electrical cooperative serving 12,000 residents and businesses in Nevada and Utah (donations listed under Rural E Advocates c/o Mt. Wheeler Power): $17,500

  • $1,500 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $1,500 to Assemblyman John Ellison (R)
  • $1,500 to Senator Pete Goicoechea (R)
  • $1,250 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $1,250 to Senator Don Gustavson (R)
  • $1,250 to Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)
  • $1,250 to Senator James Settelmeyer (R)
  • $750 to Senator Becky Harris (R)
  • $750 to Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $750 to Senator Joe Hardy (R)
  • $750 to Assemblyman John Hambrick (R)
  • $750 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $750 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Dina Neal (D)
  • $500 to Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R)
  • $500 to Assemblywoman Olivia Diaz (D)
  • $500 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Skip Daly (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Will McCurdy (D)

First Solar, a solar panel manufacturer: $5,000

  • $1,000 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $1,000 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)
  • $1,000 to Senator Kelvin Atkinson (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman James Oscarson (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (R)

Liberty Oil & Refining Association, an offshore drilling company: $5,000

  • $5,000 to Assemblyman James Ohrenschall (D)

Nevada Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association: $3,500

  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod (D)
  • $500 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Ira Hansen (R)
  • $500 to Senator Joyce Woodhouse (D)
  • $500 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)
  • $250 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $250 to Senator Scott Hammond (R)

American Wind Energy Association: $2,000

  • $500 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $500 to Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R)
  • $500 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $500 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)

Rose McKinney-James and her firm McKinney-James & Associates. She is also managing principal of Energy Works Consulting, a longtime energy lobbyist in Nevada and a board director of the Alliance to Save Energy: $1,550

  • $500 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)
  • $300 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $250 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)

Invenergy, which is developing the Luning Solar Energy Project in Mineral County: $1,500

  • $500 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)
  • $500 to Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R)
  • $500 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)

Nevada Rural Electric Association: $1,500

  • $750 to Senator Pat Spearman (D)
  • $750 to Senator Mark Manendo (D)

Kenneth Kefalas, CEO and president of Bombard Electric: $1,000

  • $1,000 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)

Alliance for Solar Choice, the rooftop solar power advocacy group: $1,000

  • $1,000 to Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton (D)

Scott Donnelly, president of Cooper Roofing and Solar: $1,000

  • $1,000 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)

Recurrent Energy Development Holdings: $1,000

  • $500 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $500 to Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson (D)
  • $250 to Senate Minority Leader Michael Roberson (R)
  • $250 to Assembly Minority Leader Paul Anderson (R)

Douglas Brooks, attorney for NV Energy: $850

  • $500 to Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D)
  • $250 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $100 to Senator Julia Ratti (D)

Terry Bombard, vice president of Bombard Electric: $500

  • $500 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)

No Solar Tax PAC, a group of solar companies led by SolarCity: $500

  • $500 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)

Jennifer Taylor, executive director of the Clean Energy Project: $300

  • $300 to Assemblyman Chris Brooks (D)

Tom Polikalas, the Nevada representative for the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project: $225

  • $125 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)
  • $100 to Assemblywoman Jill Tolles (R)

Jeff Ceccarelli, a longtime NV Energy executive: $200

  • $200 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)

Jessica Diss, an administrative attorney at the Public Utilities Commission: $200

  • $200 to Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D)

Maria Robinson, associate director of energy policy and analysis at Advanced Energy Economy: $200

  • $200 to Senator Nicole Cannizzaro (D)

Mary Simmons, vice president of external affairs at NV Energy: $200

  • $200 to Senator Heidi Gansert (R)

Ann Pongracz, who was appointed to the Public Utilities Commission in October 2016: $188

  • $88 to Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford (D)
  • $50 to Assemblyman Elliot Anderson (D)
  • $50 to Senate Nicole Cannizzaro (D)

Photo Caption: Electricians David Livingston, left, and Mario Rojas with 1 Sun Solar inspects solar panels in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

Disclosure: NV Energy has donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.