The current population of the state of Nevada is estimated to be 3.12 million. In October 2018, the state utilities used natural gas (68.7%), coal (5.1%) and renewable energy (26.2%) to generate electricity. Hydropower, solar and geothermal are the primary sources of renewable energy in Nevada.
The state’s dependence on natural gas has offset the high cost of coal to keep electricity costs near the average price in the United States. In October 2018, the average cost of electricity in Nevada was U.S. 12.2 ¢ per kWh, which is the 30th most expensive price in the United States. The escalating prices for fossil fuels is causing state utilities to accelerate the move to renewable energy.
The Public Utility Commission of Nevada has recently approved NV Energy’s integrated resource plan (IRP), which will double the company’s renewable energy capacity by 2023. NV Energy is an electric and natural gas utility, headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. NV Energy is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, an energy holding company that is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.
NV Energy will bring 1,001 MW of solar capacity on stream by 2023 with six new power purchase agreements (PPAs). The new solar projects include the 101-MW Battle Mountain, 200-MW Dodge Flat Solar Energy Center, 100-MW Fish Springs Ranch, 300-MW Eagle Shadow, 250-MW Copper Mountain and 50-MW Techren Solar, which are all located in Nevada.
The Public Utility Commission of Nevada also approved NV Energy’s proposal to close the North Valmy coal-fired Unit 1 by 2021, four years ahead of schedule. NV Energy will retire the state’s last remaining coal-fired power plant, North Valmy Unit 2 by 2025.
The superior economics of renewable energy are causing utilities across the United States to abandon fossil fuel power plants. Fossil fuels are not renewable and as supply diminishes, the prices will rapidly escalate. In summary, I applaud NV Energy for their economically and environmentally sound decision to rapidly increase utility scale solar parks in Nevada.