Yazmyn Pelaez

NV Energy’s Poor Planning Results in Approval of Costly Projects 

Clean energy advocates point to fear-mongering, hidden information, and stakeholder obstruction tying the PUCN’s hands

Las Vegas, NV – Today, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) announced its decision on NV Energy’s latest costly amendment to their 2021 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), confirming that there were no changes made to the draft order released earlier this week, and the final order will be posted and available later today. Despite concerns raised by clean energy advocates, the PUCN approved more than $2.1 billion in spending by the electric utility, while adding several conditions to protect ratepayers. This decision follows months of NV Energy using manipulative tactics, sparking criticism about the utility’s flawed planning, mixed messages, and overreliance on fossil fuels. 

The utility’s fifth amendment to their 2021 IRP includes the controversial conversion of the Valmy coal power plant to methane (natural) gas and Sierra Solar, a 400-megawatt solar and battery storage project that will be owned and operated by NV Energy, allowing the utility to profit on it. IRP amendments face an expedited approval process and lack comprehensive scrutiny. NV Energy leveraged this process and scare tactics to fast-track their costly projects, and fought against stakeholder engagement

Nevada clean energy advocates are emphasizing that NV Energy’s fifth amendment poses a challenge to the state’s clean energy objectives and undermines the integrity of the regulatory process by sidelining more cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternatives. The utility’s backtracking from its initial plan to close the Valmy coal power plant and replace it with renewables has sparked controversy. This approach contradicts Nevada’s renewable energy goals, unjustly places the risks of volatile gas prices onto consumers, and highlights a clear disregard for climate action. NV Energy’s approach fails to adequately address the long-term needs of Nevadans’ energy demands, favoring short-term gains over sustainable solutions. 

“NV Energy’s exclusionary approach jeopardizes Nevada’s clean energy future, undermines the regulatory process, and places the burden on consumers,” said Kristee Watson, Executive Director for the Nevada Conservation League. “Nevada has a tremendous opportunity to leverage federal investments from the Clean Energy Plan and move away from polluting energy sources. Instead, NV Energy’s shortsighted plans fail to align with Nevada’s renewable energy goals. We want to see utility leaders act with more urgency to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, protect consumers,  and ensure affordable clean energy solutions reach more Nevadans.” 

“Low-income communities are hurting financially and already experience high energy burdens,” said Dr. Mary House, CEO of CHR, Inc. (Caring, Helping and Restoring Lives). “NV Energy’s continued push for gas power generation puts households at bigger risk, as gas price spikes caused our utility bills to soar. The utility continues to prioritize profit by pushing projects that benefit their bottom line rather than customer needs. We need NV Energy to do better, and call on the PUCN to break this cycle with better planning that puts more emphasis on clean, affordable, and reliable energy.”

“The decision to approve another gas plant with the Valmy Repower project deeply concerns us, as it moves Nevada away from our goal of a 100% clean energy future, threatening our children’s health and the planet,” said Mercedes McKinley, Nevada Field Organizer for EcoMadres and Moms Clean Air Force. “We call on NV Energy to prioritize projects that do not perpetuate the negative impacts of burning gas for electricity generation. We must transition away from fossil fuels to ensure clean air and a stable climate for our children and generations to come.”

“We are once again disappointed that for the second year in a row, NV Energy has proposed and received PUCN approval for another gas plant,” said Audrey Peral, Program Director for Chispa Nevada. “Utility bills have never been higher in Nevada and our families are struggling to pay for electricity. Again and again, Latine families have told NV Energy and the PUCN that we want to see less reliance on out-of-control fossil fuels and instead more local and affordable clean energy. NV Energy’s dirty power plans will doom our community to high bills and a worsening climate crisis. We urge the PUCN to force NV Energy to reconsider this dangerous decision.”  

Looking ahead, NV Energy must prioritize affordable clean energy, moving away from fossil fuels and avoiding new or extended gas power generation in its 2024 IRP that will be submitted by June 1. It’s also essential for the PUCN to take back control over the planning process and demand increased transparency, collaboration, and accountability to protect customers from unnecessary spikes in utility costs.


Share this post