NV energy plan to add 100 MW storage, 1 GW renewables gets PUC approval
- The Nevada Public Utilities Commission (PUC) December 21 approved NV Energy's most recent integrated resource plan, which would double its renewables capacity.
- The proposal includes six new solar facilities that, combined with 100 MW battery storage, adding more than 1 GW of renewables to the state's portfolio. The plan would also shut down the utility's Valmy coal plant four years early.
- The PUC approved NV Energy's renewable energy expansion today, but the decision was made a little more than a month ago, when the utility said the new renewable portfolio would be contingent on voters rejecting a state amendment to establish a retail choice electricity market.
NV Energy spent $63 million to defeat Question 3, which would have amended the state constitution and directed the legislature "to minimize regulations on the energy market and eliminate legal energy monopolies." Voters needed to reject the ballot proposal, which they did in November, for NV Energy to continue their IRP to double the renewable energy portfolio.
Voters had approved Question 3 in 2016, but state law required it to pass twice and the second time around the monopoly utility didn't stay on the sidelines.
In addition to the money spent to sway voters, NV Energy also rolled out a plan to offer them what they wanted: more renewable energy. That payoff could come today.
The PUC draft decision concluded the utility's proposal "best advances Nevada’s clean energy goals."
NV Energy's plans call for 1 GW of solar, 100 MW of battery storage and retiring the Valmy coal plant in northern Nevada earlier than scheduled, ultimately doubling the state's renewable energy by 2023. Once the projects are complete, the utility says its total clean energy portfolio will be more than 3.2 GW.
Valmy 1 will be shut down by Dec. 31, 2021, so long as NV Energy meets reliability conditions.
NV Energy's plans also made headlines for the low price of its solar energy contract this summer.
Among the power purchase agreements NV Energy filed with the commission in January was a 300 MW deal with the Eagle Shadow Mountain solar project at $23.76/MWh for 25 years. Another PPA the utility filed, a deal with Copper Mountain, priced at $21.55/MWh, but with a 2.5% annual cost escalator.
This article has been updated.
- Nevada Public Utilities Commission Draft Order
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