NV Energy is looking to get back on the right foot with the solar industry, by requesting the approval of a huge PV plant in Nevada within its Emissions Reduction and Capacity Replacement second amendment filing. Also part of the filing is the plan to retire a 257 MW coal power plant earlier than scheduled.
The 100 MW project has been proposed for the Eldorado Valley, just outside of Boulder City. A 25-year PPA has already been signed between NV Energy and Techren Solar LLC, and all the project needs now is approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. Provided it receives the regulatory backing, it is expected to be operational by the end of 2018.
“At an average cost of energy for the life of the project at approximately four cents per kilowatt-hour, this is one of the lowest-cost solar projects in the nations,” commented NV Energy’s senior vice president of energy supply Kevin Geraghty. “And, we are very pleased with the fact that Techren has already signed a work-site agreement with local unions 357 and 396 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.”
The PV plant is just one part of the filing’s plan to transform NV Energy’s fuel mix, and the second is the moving forward of the retirement date for the 257 MW coal-fired generation unit at the Reid Gardner Generating Station. The original plan was to close the unit on 31 December 2017, but that date has now been brought forward to 28 February 2017.
The first three coal-fired generating units at Reid Gardner were closed at the end of 2014, as part of NV Energy’s goal of rebalancing its fuel mix with renewables. By the time the Eldorado Valley plant is completed, NV Energy hopes to have 1,900 MW of renewable energy in its portfolio.
Although these particular developments are positive for the state’s solar market, there is a certain air of irony in NV Energy’s support for utility-scale PV, after previously calling for the dismantling of net metering in Nevada. Pressure applied by NV Energy played a part in state regulators’ decision to repeal net metering last year, which has been catastrophic for the distributed solar market within the state.
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