Nevada electric utility seeks to partner with 6 solar firms
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada’s main electric utility said Thursday that if voters reject a statewide energy choice constitutional amendment in November, it plans to partner with six solar power development firms to buy enough power from projects to be built around the state to supply more than 600,000 homes,
NV Energy announced it will submit to the state Public Utilities Commission on Friday an energy resource plan to have projects on an Indian reservation near Las Vegas, two southwest of Boulder City, two in Washoe County and one near Battle Mountain serving customers by 2022, according to a company statement.
Company chief executive Paul Caudill put costs at more than $2 billion, and called it the largest investment of its kind in state history.
Caudill also said the company might kill the idea if voters approve a ballot measure that would eliminate NV Energy’s regulated state electricity monopoly and require the Legislature to pass laws establishing a competitive retail energy market.
“Work on this resource planning effort ... demonstrates that we are navigating the uncertainties in the current market, given Question 3 on the statewide ballot,” Caudill said.
Adding six projects totaling 1,001 megawatts to the state electricity production portfolio “will reduce the costs to serve customers,” Caudill said.
He pointed to an April report by the three-member Public Utilities Commission that warned that passing the ballot measure could raise power rates and cost millions of dollars to implement.
Officials with the advocacy groups the Interwest Energy Alliance, Vote Solar and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project issued a statement hailing the NV Energy proposal as a step toward clean energy efficiency and cost savings for families and businesses.
Representatives of the Sierra Club’s Nevada Beyond Coal Campaign, the Nevada Conservation League, the Faith Organizing Alliance and a League of Conservation Voters program also welcomed the plan.
They noted that with the closure of an embattled coal-fired power plant outside Las Vegas, NV Energy draws power today from just one coal plant in the state.
That 522-megawatt plant, North Valmy in northern Nevada, also provides electricity to Idaho Power Co. It is due to close in 2025.
NV Energy is owned by Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Berkshire Hathaway Energy of Des Moines, Iowa. It provides electricity to 1.4 million customers in Nevada.
The company estimates that one megawatt can power 600 typical homes in Nevada for a year.
It will tell utilities regulators it has contracts to collect energy from:
— The 300-megawatt Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm to be built by California-based 8minutenergy Renewables on the Moapa Band of Paiutes reservation north of Las Vegas. The tribe already hosts two 179-megawatt solar-power generating plants that began operating in December to serve commercial data company Switch in Reno and Las Vegas.
— The 250-megawatt Copper Mountain Solar 5 project to be developed by Sempra Renewables adjacent to an existing company project in Eldorado Valley near Boulder City.
— The 50-megawatt Techren Solar V project to be developed next to existing Techren Solar plants southwest of Boulder City.
— The 101-megawatt Battle Mountain Solar Project to be developed by privately-held Cypress Creek Renewables.
— The 200-megawatt Dodge Flat Solar Energy Center to be developed by NextEra Energy Resources east of Reno.
— The 100-megawatt Fish Springs Ranch Solar Energy Center to be developed by NextEra Energy Resources north of Reno.