NV Energy to double renewable capacity — if voters reject retail choice
- NV Energy announced plans Thursday to essentially double the utility's — and therefore Nevada's — renewable energy, but predicated the $2 billion investment on voters in November rejecting a state constitutional amendment to establish a retail choice electricity market.
- Voters in 2016 easily passed the amendment, but under state law constitutional amendments must be approved in consecutive elections. While NV Energy largely stayed mum during the last election, it has committed millions to defeating Question 3 in November.
- NV Energy's proposal includes six new solar projects that, combined with battery storage, would add more than 1 GW of renewables to the state's portfolio.
If voters in November approve Question 3 for a second time, NV Energy, owned by Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, said it will not develop any more renewable power than is required by state law.
But if voters reject the ballot measure, the utility's plan could set the state on a course towards 100% renewable electricity. The proposal, which NV Energy plans to file on Friday with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, would double the utility's green generation by 2023 and almost double the state's capacity, according to the Nevada Independent.
The constitutional amendment would direct Nevada lawmakers "to minimize regulations on the energy market and eliminate legal energy monopolies." Called the Energy Choice Initiative, the amendment aims to create a competitive retail energy market in which customers would choose their electricity provider.
NV Energy stayed out of the battle in 2016, allowing an easy victory for those in favor of choice. The measure passed with 72% the first go-round, but now the utility is stepping up its lobbying, pledging $30 million to defeat it. Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp. and data center provider Switch have spent millions to support the choice amendment.
If voters approve the amendment in November, lawmakers would be required to establish a competitive energy market that enables retail providers to assume the role now filled by the incumbent utility. Several casinos, including MGM, Caesars and Wynn, along with Switch, have already paid or will pay millions to exit NV Energy's service and purchase their electricity on the open market.
- The Nevada Independent NV Energy plans ambitious renewable energy ramp up - but only if Question 3 doesn't pass By
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