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Analysis of NV Energy’s Integrated Resource Plan and an Alternative Resource Portfolio

The following analysis was commissioned by Western Resource Advocates (WRA), in consultation with the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), regarding the 2018 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) filed by NV Energy (NVE). The overarching objective of this analysis is to develop a portfolio of resources that meets NV Energy’s capacity needs and energy needs, while adding additional clean energy resources beyond the Action Plan period and continuing to reduce carbon emissions. A secondary goal of the analysis was to evaluate a resource mix that would enable NVE to comply with a 50% renewable energy standard, a policy consistent with Question 6, the Renewable Energy Promotion Initiative, which will be on the ballot in the 2018 general election.

NV Energy’s Preferred IRP Portfolio, the Low Carbon case, adds over 1 GW of renewable resources and battery storage during the Action Plan period. However, beyond the Action Plan, the portfolio includes significant amounts of new natural gas, which would contribute to rising carbon emissions over the long term, as well as additional fuel and capital costs. The Alternative Portfolio developed here would reduce future investments in natural gas and replace those resources with increased levels of energy efficiency, renewables, and battery storage. Specifically, over the next 20 years, the Alternative Portfolio

  • Eliminates the need for over 1,600 MW of new natural gas additions, which are included in NVE’s Low Carbon case;
  • Reduces peak demand by over 2,000 MW through energy efficiency programs and demand response;
  • Adds over 5,000 MW of new solar, wind, and geothermal resources (inclusive of the 1 GW of renewables in the Low Carbon Action Plan); and
  • Adds 700 MW of new energy storage resources.

The Alternative Portfolio would put NVE on a path to meet a 50% renewable energy standard by 2030, and could save customers over $192 million, compared to the Low Carbon portfolio selected by NVE

Given limited budget and time constraints, the analysis presented here does not provide the full suite of technical modeling that could be pursued in developing an IRP. Nevertheless, we believe the analysis presented is sufficient to provide insight into the viability of the Alternative Portfolio and we recommend that it or a similar portfolio be thoroughly examined between now and the next IRP cycle. We believe this provides a valuable “proof of concept” for what could be achieved while providing reasonable estimates of the potential costs and operational issues that may be encountered along the way.

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