By - Jim Vess

NV Energy $2 billion solar program hinges on November “energy choice” ballot measure

Energize Weekly, June 13, 2018

NV Energy announced a $2 billion plan to add more than 1 gigawatt of utility-scale solar and battery storage projects, but said the investment depends upon whether Nevada voters support an “energy choice” ballot measure in the fall.

On June 1, NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, submitted a plan to the Nevada Public Utilities Commission under which the utility would sign purchase power agreements with six solar power providers including 100 megawatts (MW) of battery storage.

“The six new projects position NV Energy to keep its commitment to double renewable energy by 2023 and, importantly, by diversifying our state’s electricity generation portfolio, will reduce the costs to serve customers,” Paul Caudill, NV Energy’s CEO, said in a statement.

NV Energy said, however, it reserved the option to cancel the plan if Question 3—which would open the state to electricity competition even in currently monopoly-regulated areas—passes in November.

Passage of the initiative could add to “risk and liabilities” to NV Energy’s customers, the company said in a statement.

Caudill said that the projects would create $2 billion in investment in the state, employ 1,700 construction workers and add 80 new fulltime jobs.

“This is an act of desperation by NV Energy that is too little too late,” the Energy Choice Initiative, which is backing Question 3, said in statement. “In a competitive market, consumers will drive our renewable energy future, not an outdated utility monopoly that has been dragged kicking and screaming towards that future.”

The six proposed projects NV Energy said are:

  • Battle Mountain Solar Project—101-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project located near Battle Mountain, Nev., with 25 MW of battery energy storage for a four-hour period. It is being developed by Cypress Creek Renewables, which is a privately held solar developer with more than 2.2 gigawatts of solar energy projects developed to date across 12 states.
  • Dodge Flat Solar Energy Center—200-MW solar PV project located east of Reno, Nev. It is being developed by NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. The Dodge Flat Energy Center will integrate 50 MW of battery energy storage for a four-hour period. NextEra Energy is the world’s largest operator of renewable energy from the wind and sun generation, and one of the largest wholesale generators of electric power in the U.S.
  • Fish Springs Ranch Solar Energy Center—100-MW solar PV project located north of Reno. It is being developed by NextEra Energy Resources. The Fish Springs Ranch Solar Energy Center will integrate 25 MW of battery energy storage for a four-hour period.
  • Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm—300-MW solar PV project located north of Las Vegas on land owned by the Moapa Band of Paiutes. It is being developed by 8minutenergy Renewables, which is the largest independent solar and storage developer in the United States.
  • Copper Mountain Solar 5—250-MW solar PV project in Eldorado Valley, just south of Boulder City, Nev. It is being developed by Sempra Renewables, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, which is a leading U.S. developer of renewable energy.
  • Techren Solar V—50-MW solar PV project southwest of Boulder City next to existing Techren Solar plants.

The six projects will be added to NV Energy’s current portfolio of 51 geothermal, solar, hydro, wind, biomass and supported rooftop solar projects—bringing NV Energy’s total renewable energy portfolio to more than 3.2 gigawatts of renewable energy in Nevada.

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