Stakeholders highlight gaps in analysis, transparency, and stakeholder engagement
Nevada — Today, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) approved an order acknowledging the shortcomings of NV Energy’s planning process. The decision comes after a broad range of stakeholders criticized the quality, analysis, and transparency of NV Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) and amendments that led to the utility forcing the expedited approval of an unpopular and expensive 440MW methane (natural) gas ‘peaker’ plant. The draft order can be found here.
In March, clean energy and environmental advocates expressed outrage over the approval of NV Energy’s plan to build the new gas plant, a step backward from the state’s clean energy targets. The plant was approved without considering robust energy efficiency, demand management, and conservation programs as more cost-effective, reliable, and sustainable solutions. Customers are suffering rate shock from a dramatic increase in methane gas prices – and instead of moving to more local, affordable, and stable energy sources, the utility chose to double down on fossil fuels imported from out of state.
The IRP is critical for laying out the utility’s comprehensive strategy to meet future energy needs while balancing reliability, affordability, and environmental impact. Today’s order underscores NV Energy’s neglect and misuse of the planning process and reinforces the importance of transparency, accountability, and stakeholder engagement. The PUCN will open an investigatory docket and hold formal workshops to evaluate options that improve NV Energy’s IRP process.
“After NV Energy rammed through an expensive gas plant that the utility’s customers will pay for, we cannot sit idly by and just take the utility’s word that they have considered the best interests of consumers and our environment,” said Kristee Watson, Deputy Director for the Nevada Conservation League. “The utility’s behavior during this process has proven that they are unconcerned with impacts to customers or meeting Nevada’s clean energy goals. We commend the Commission for opening an investigatory docket and support a more robust and transparent planning process.”
As we approach hot summer months and expect high cooling bills as a result of record-high methane gas prices, it’s clearer than ever that Nevada is too dependent on this polluting fossil fuel. A modernized planning process will help ensure the cleanest, lowest cost, and least risk solutions are approved.