Nevada Solar Authority Reveals NV Energy Subsidized 99 Year Old Oregon Dam

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Nevada Solar Authority (NSA) revealed this week on its policy blog, NVREC at http://hynes.com, that NV Energy sent millions of ratepayer dollars to Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah in 2010 to subsidize thirty Hydroelectric Plants, averaging 70 years old, that don’t even qualify for renewable energy subsidies in those states.

Anyone interested in protecting ratepayers would not support sending millions of ratepayer dollars to other states... Randell S. Hynes, Nevada Solar Authority, Ltd.

Nevada Solar Authority (NSA) revealed this week on its policy blog, http://hynes.com, that NV Energy sent millions of ratepayer dollars to Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah in 2010 to subsidize thirty Hydroelectric Plants, averaging 70 years old, that don’t even qualify for renewable energy subsidies in those states. Meanwhile, Nevadans and Independent Power Producers desiring to build new renewable energy plants in Nevada either don't know those subsidies exist or say they cannot learn the rates, schedule and longevity of the payments in order to make an informed investment decision.

This new research was conducted by NSA while preparing to lobby for improvements in Nevada Energy Policy during the current Nevada Legislative session. NSA represents the interest of the developing Nevada solar industry. Improved policy will enable Nevadans to build individual renewable energy systems and allow Independent Power Producers to access a competitive Nevada energy market.

After last session of the Nevada Legislature, NV Energy was given expanded authority by AB387 & SB358 to buy electricity from and pay subsidies to any renewable energy systems delivering electricity to Nevada utilities from other states. Before the change, no more than one fossil-fuel system could exist on the same delivery line. In Nevada Public Utility Commission Dockets 09-11003 and 10-02010, http://pucweb1.state.nv.us/pucn/, NV Energy petitioned to buy electricity and pay subsidies to out-of-state hydroelectric plants to comply with their Portfolio Standard. The petitions ask to bend the regulations and stray from their existing resource plan. NV Energy counsel Douglas Brooks says in paragraph 17 of docket 10-02010 that allowing Sierra Pacific to bend the rules “would facilitate the Transaction [to buy electricity and PCs from old dams in Oregon] and is in the public interest.” No details were submitted about the plants.

Research by Nevada Solar Authority revealed those details. Hydroelectric systems owned by Idaho Power and PacifiCorp are listed on the regional tracking system, http://WREGIS.ORG. A PacifiCorp service area map, http://www.pacificorp.com/about/co.html, shows the delivery line leading to Nevada, that purportedly delivers green electricity here, has over a dozen coal and gas plants feeding the lines between 25 of those dams and the Nevada-Utah border, where NV Energy says the electricity is received. No research was done on the five Idaho Power plants.

NV Energy complained at those PUCN hearings that the supply of PCs is insufficient in Nevada. Yet, the company limits development options to an annual or biannual Request For Proposal where the company asks developers to finance installation of a renewable energy system and to accept their default Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The PPA rate paid for Portfolio Energy Credits has never been voluntarily released by NV Energy.

NSA Marketing Director, Randell Hynes, sums it up, “Anyone interested in protecting ratepayers would not support sending millions of ratepayer dollars to other states, would support opening up the energy market and, in NV Energy’s case, lead Nevadans to Energy Independence. You can’t lead the way from the back seat or take credit for the progress made in Nevada, when you can’t even comply with the minimum lawful requirements within the intent of the law.”

In Carson City, Nevada, SB184 the “Renewable Energy Systems Development Program” has been introduced by Senator Michael Schneider to establish Standard Offer Contracts for the purchase of green electricity. The bill’s language is being reviewed by the Nevada solar industry, which will offer alternative language to reverse 2009 AB387 & SB358, seek to establish statutory PC rates, quarterly payments for 10 years and replace the Temporary Renewable Energy Program with the new RESD Program. These actions will bring certainty to the market that does not currently exist and consequently put the responsibility for developing the green energy market on Independent Power Producers, who say they are up for the challenge. SB184 was heard for the first time at the Nevada Legislature's Senate Commerce, Labor & Energy committee March 7, 2011.

Randell S. Hynes is a Lobbyist in the 76th Session of the Nevada Legislature and a respected solar energy advocate. He is a principle and co-founder of Solar Forces, Nevada Solar Authority, Ltd. and Mojave Power Solutions, a division of Nova Electric, all Las Vegas based firms.

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