- NV Energy has asked Nevada regulators to approve three new long-term power purchase agreements totaling 100 MW of solar capacity, including two which could yield historically low prices for its subsidiaries Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power.
- According to the utility, the Techren 3 and 4 solar projects, each proposed at 25 MW, would be the lowest-cost universal solar purchase agreements entered into in the United States. The levelized price of the new solar is $34.20/MWh for both 25-year contracts.
- The third project, the 50 MW Turquoise Nevada solar project, to be constructed in the Reno Technology Park in Washoe County, would utilize a 25-year power purchase agreement at a base price of $30.99/MWh that would escalate 2% annually, and is expected to be operational by the end of 2020.
NV Energy continues to add low-cost renewables to its resource mix, and is now asking the Public Utilities Commission to approve three new long-term power purchase agreements totaling 100 MW, all to be constructed in the state. These projects are particularly notable in light of an upcoming vote next year that could give Nevadans the right to shop for their energy on the competitive retail markets.
The Turquoise Nevada project, at 50 MW, would be the largest array in northern Nevada and is a joint venture of Estuary Capital Advisors and Sumitomo Corporation of Americas.
The other two new proposed 25-year power purchase agreements are the result of a request for proposals that was issued by NV Energy in June. The 25 MW Techren Solar 3 project will serve customers in southern portion of Nevada, while the other 25 MW Techren Solar 4 project will serve customers in the north. If approved, the new solar energy projects will be operational by Sept. 1, 2020.
While the new 100 MW of proposed solar capacity is news in itself, it is the cost on the smaller two projects likely to draw the most attention.
"To the best of our knowledge, Techren 3 and 4 are the lowest-cost universal solar power purchase agreements entered into in the United States," Pat Egan, NV Energy senior vice-president, renewable energy and smart infrastructure, said in a statement.
The levelized price of the new solar is $34.20/MWh for the 25-year contract, compared with NV Energy base tariff energy rates of $32.43MWh. At just 5.5% more than the base rate, Egan said in his testimony that the Techren agreements "provide long term price stability for a bundled product."
NV Energy customers are currently served by a range of clean energy resources, including: 19 geothermal energy plants, 16 universal-scale solar fields, six hydro projects, five biomass or methane projects and one wind farm. In total, the projects represent more than 1,600 MW of nameplate renewable energy capacity. About 250 construction workers and nine permanent positions would be needed for the three projects.
The utility also said it submitted a separate request with the PUC to utilize the NV GreenEnergy Rider program to help a major customer offset 100% of its next phase of growth with solar energy.