NV Energy looking for another 350 MW of large-scale renewables

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NV Energy has been feeling the heat for the last few years. As if it were not enough that the state’s scrapping of net metering was reversed and a number of casinos in Las Vegas have paid hefty exit fees to break up with the utility, it is now facing a ballot initiative to open Nevada’s electricity market to competition as well as one to require that it procure 50% of its power from renewable energy by 2030. Both will go to voters on November 6.

The response of the Warren Buffett-owned utility to these pushes for cleaner power has been to procure a large volume of renewables, which has even led some environmental organizations including Sierra Club and NRDC to jump ship on the deregulation initiative. And following on solicitations to procure 330 MW of renewable energy in January and 1 GW of new solar in May, yesterday NV Energy announced a second request for proposals (RFP) to procure another 350 MW of renewable energy.

This new RFP is open to a range of renewable portfolio standard (RPS) compliant renewables, including wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and biogas. Projects need to be at least 20 MW in capacity, and distributed generation does not qualify. Additionally the projects must all be built in Nevada and come online by the end of 2023.

These can be existing or new projects, and the utility is open to either build-transfer relationships of power contracts with independent power producers. Further, the utility will consider supplemental battery energy storage systems that are integrated with the proposed renewable energy resource.

Bids must offer energy plus all environmental attributes, which would include renewable energy credits, and will be evaluated on a number of factors, including the best value to customers and economic benefits to the state of Nevada.

In announcing the RFP, NV Energy alluded to a 100% renewable energy goal. This is news to pv magazine. “This newest effort keeps NV Energy on the path to achieving our longer-term goal of serving customers with 100% renewable energy,” stated Doug Cannon, NV Energy President.

NV Energy is well along the way to that goal. The utility claims that it has tripled renewable energy generation in its service area in the last nine years. Overall Nevada is one of a half-dozen states where solar represents more than 10% of in-state electricity generation, and in the first half of 2018 all renewable energy sources including hydro represented 31% of generation.

NV Energy will hold a pre-bid conference for the new RFP on October 30 from 10 AM to noon. Bids are due December 10, and successful bids will need regulatory approval.