During an update on NV Energy’s efforts to transition away from fossil fuels, Jimmy Daghlian, the vice president of renewable energy, expressed concerns about meeting the legislative mandate to ensure half of its energy is from renewable sources by 2030. Rising costs are a major challenge for the utility, with battery prices doubling in the last two years and solar panel prices going up 40 to 50%. This has led to delays in power purchase agreements and a need for NV Energy to play catch-up.
Obtaining permits for facilities on federal lands is another challenge, as only one-tenth of 1% of Nevada is designated as a solar energy zone. NV Energy is bidding $82 million for a solar energy zone to streamline and accelerate its projects. Despite the challenges, NV Energy has exceeded the state’s renewable energy requirement for the 13th consecutive year.
Commissioner Justin Jones questioned NV Energy’s prioritization of solar over gas plants to meet peak demands. Daghlian explained that additional resources need to be justified, as customers ultimately pay for them. Cost is another impediment, with projects like the Sierra Solar Project costing $1.5 billion. Daghlian emphasized that the green energy transition will be costly and challenging.
Barbash, another NV Energy executive, mentioned the utility’s transmission line project, Greenlink, which is 11 months behind schedule due to permitting issues. She highlighted the economic benefits of the project, generating $690 million and creating 4,000 full-time jobs in the construction phase. However, NV Energy is unable to fulfill the needs of potential economic development due to the delays.
County commissioners raised concerns about solar energy producers selling energy to California instead of NV Energy. They plan to draft a resolution asking the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to prioritize local needs without resorting to anti-competitive practices.