As part of its Integrated Resource Plan, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has identified more than 2,000 MW of new, low-cost renewable energy generation in southwest Nevada that would help the state of California achieve its climate change goals. To unlock the potential of these resources, GridLiance, an independent electric transmission company, is proposing to develop an electric transmission highway that would increase the amount of renewable energy delivered from southwest Nevada to California. The project, Silverado Renewables Connection, would create thousands of jobs and more than half a billion dollars of regional economic activity.
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) will now study the CPUC plan and the upgrades needed to increase the transmission capacity to deliver more renewable energy from southwest Nevada to higher-demand areas in California.
Silverado Renewables Connection has received the backing of the Coalition for the Optimization of Renewable Development, the Coalition of California Utility Employees, California International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Locals, Nevada IBEW Locals, Valley Electric Association and renewable developers as a regional solution to address climate change. The Nevada Governor's Office of Energy also submitted comments in support of the project development.
"We applaud the CPUC for its bold action in identifying the increased renewable generation California needs to meet our GHG emission reduction goals," said Pat Lavin, business manager, California IBEW Local 47. "Silverado Renewables Connection is a commonsense solution to address climate change that will boost the economy and help put thousands of IBEW members to work."
Renewable energy developers are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to meet California's growing demand for clean energy. There are 3,100 MWs of active renewable energy generator interconnection requests to GridLiance's transmission system in southwest Nevada, which the CPUC has identified as being important to the state achieving its goals to reduce carbon emissions.
"We commend the CPUC for their forward-looking approach to meeting California's nation-leading climate change goals and are excited to work with CAISO to study the needed improvements to the transmission system," GridLiance President and CEO Calvin Crowder said. "There is pent-up demand for these upgrades, and we stand ready to begin work on Silverado Renewables Connection to expedite the deployment of these renewable resources."
The first phase of Silverado Renewables Connection would upgrade GridLiance's existing 230-kilovolt transmission lines to deliver thousands of megawatts of low-cost renewables from southwest Nevada into California.
Mark Stallons, CEO of Valley Electric Association, an electric cooperative serving 45,000 people in southwest Nevada, said the project would be an essential expansion of the transmission system in the West that would improve the overall reliability and resiliency of the grid.
"The CPUC's action could provide a path to deliver incremental geothermal and other renewable resources in the area to the CAISO, further improving California's resource adequacy," said Kiley Moore, senior manager at Ormat, a leading geothermal and recovered energy generation company.
Ricardo Graf, managing partner and chief development officer of Arevia Power, a utility-scale solar developer, added, "If we are going to decarbonize electricity generation, we need to tap into the best and most affordable renewable energy resources. The reality is that southern Nevada resources are located next door, and with cost-effective transmission upgrades, they will be a crucial component to ensuring California achieves its net-zero emissions ambitions in a timely and efficient manner."
CAISO will study the CPUC IRP this year during its transmission planning cycle and is expected to finalize its recommendations in March 2022.
For more information about Silverado Renewables Connection, go to silveradorenewables.com.