This decision is a step backward on the path to a clean energy future
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Today, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) approved NV Energy’s plan to build a new methane gas-powered peaker plant. This will be the first addition to NV Energy’s gas fleet in 9 years. This decision moves the state away from achieving 100% clean energy and energy independence by increasing reliance on out-of-state fossil fuels. It’s also a hit to customers already suffering from volatile and expensive methane gas prices, who will provide a guaranteed profit to the utility for the new plant.
In its fourth Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) Amendment, NV Energy proposed building a new 440MW methane gas peaker plant at its Silverhawk Generating Station in North Las Vegas to meet peak load demand. The PUCN’s decision to approve the gas plant comes as Nevada households continue to reel from unreasonably high electric and gas utility bills and a string of rate increases blamed on the volatile cost of gas. In fact, methane gas prices have been so high that the company resorted to running its Valmy coal plant more, setting back the state’s gains in reducing climate pollution.
While families and businesses struggle to pay skyrocketing energy bills, NV Energy’s choice to add new gas projects creates more profit for shareholders and executives at ratepayer expense. The company ignored more affordable options – like energy efficiency and distributed energy resources, and the rushed nature of the amendment process limited the ability to examine these alternatives fully.
Clean energy advocates and community leaders had the following to say:
“Building a new methane gas plant in Nevada is a shortsighted decision that will have long-term negative consequences for the environment and the state’s clean energy goals,” said Angelyn Tabalba with Nevada Conservation League. “Both the state and the utility have set strong goals to transition to renewable energy. Instead of doubling down on fossil fuels, they should be leaning into a clean energy future. For a state considered to be a clean energy leader, this decision sends the wrong message to other energy companies and undermines the progress that we have made towards a cleaner, more sustainable future.”
“I am really disappointed with NV Energy and its decision to spend more customer money on a new gas peaker plant,” said Dr. Mary House with CHR, Inc. “The company says its goal is to move away from expensive methane gas for electricity generation, but here we are – facing a new fossil fuel plant while the utility is doing the opposite of their word.”
“We are discouraged by today’s decision that will greenlight a new methane gas plant at a time when we should be taking action to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and transition to a cleaner, more sustainable future, said Eric Jeng with One APIA Nevada. “Nevadans are already being hit hard with high utility bills because of volatile methane prices. Our communities deserve energy efficiency programs and measures that reduce energy demand to help us drive down expenses – not increase capital costs from new gas systems.”