In its Aug. 15 Emissions Reduction and Capacity Replacement second amendment filing, NV Energy requested that the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approve a new 100-megawatt solar project in Boulder City, Nevada and an earlier retirement date for the remaining 257-megawatt unit at the Reid Gardner Generating Station. The proposal asks to move the original Dec. 31, 2017, retirement date to Feb. 28, 2017.
NV Energy noted that the filing is its next step in the transformation of NV Energy's fuel mix, moving to a cleaner, more balanced generation portfolio. This request aligns with the Nevada legislature's 2013 directive in Senate Bill 123 for a structured and orderly retirement of coal-fired generation in southern Nevada and replacing that generation with renewable energy and natural gas-fueled resources. The company retired the first three generating units at Reid Gardner at the end of 2014 and is also exiting its participation in Arizona's Navajo Generating Station by the end of 2019.
The new solar energy project is the result of a Request for Proposals that was issued earlier this year. With the oversight of an independent evaluator, NV Energy signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Techren Solar LLC to build a 100-megawatt high-efficiency single-axis solar photovoltaic project in Eldorado Valley. The project is in the development phase and, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2018.
NV Energy's Senior Vice President of Energy Supply Kevin Geraghty noted that the selection criteria for the new solar project was primarily based on the best value to NV Energy customers, but also factored in economic and job benefits to Nevada.
"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 nation. 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," Geraghty said.
NV Energy has requested that the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada make a decision on the filing by the end of 2016.
Most NV Energy customers are not aware that they already are benefitting from more than 40 solar, geothermal, wind, hydro and other renewable energy technologies being produced in Nevada. More than 300 megawatts of new solar energy is in the construction stage, and this new 100-megawatt Techren Solar project would bring NV Energy's total renewable energy portfolio to more than 1,900 megawatts. If all were producing at the same time, that would be enough energy to serve more than a million average homes.