Blog Cover Story Doug Cannon John Entsminger John Hester Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) Mark Foree NV Energy Richard Peck Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) Southwest Gas Corporation Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) Valley Electric Association Inc. (VEA)

Amping Up – Nevada’s Utilities Expand to Meet Demand

Nevada’s population is projected to improve 5.6 % by way of 2022, according to the state demographer. That enlargement and the persevering with strong financial system translate into significantly elevated, cumulative power and water needs by new businesses and residences. Accommodating the present and forecasted progress is a large focus of the Silver State entities offering these utilities. Here’s a take a look at the power and water industries.

Power

Nevada’s power business is “thriving,” described John Hester, CEO, Southwest Fuel Corp., the state’s largest provider of natural fuel (700,000 clients). In the north, the utility serves Carson City, Elko, Winnemucca, Fallon, Gardnerville, Incline Village and different areas around Lake Tahoe. In the south, it covers the Las Vegas Valley, Henderson and North Las Vegas. It operates in California and Arizona, too.

To satisfy demand, Hester expects his company to grow over the subsequent few years at 1.6 % on an annualized foundation, or add about 35,000 clients per 30 days. Additional, plans name for Southwest Fuel to spend greater than $2 billion over the subsequent three years in its tristate service territory to feed progress and guarantee its fuel delivery methods are as new and as protected as attainable.

Power in Nevada continues to evolve, with the demand for extra renewable power rising, notably because the related applied sciences and the adoption of them improves. One example of the evolution is large-scale batteries for storage and electrical automobiles, stated Doug Cannon, CEO, NV Power. The utility supplies electrical energy to more than 1.2 million clients in the state. It also delivers natural fuel to greater than 165,000 individuals within the Reno-Sparks space.

Relating to electrical automobiles, final yr Nevadans adopted them 40 % more than in 2017, according to the Nevada Governor’s Office of Power’s (GOE) “2018 Status of Energy Report.” Additionally, the GOE and numerous companions are working to develop the Nevada Electric Highway, a system with the infrastructure wanted for electrical automobiles to travel long distances. As for Part 1, alongside US 95, Beatty, Fallon and Hawthorne now have charging stations; the ultimate two, in Tonopah and Indian Springs, ought to be added this yr.

Renewable sources accounted for 18.1 % of the state’s power era as of August 2018. That category encompasses biomass/biogas/landfill, geothermal, waste heat, hydroelectric, photo voltaic, internet metering (power bought back to the grid) and wind.

Pure fuel, which is low carbon emitting, was the most important power source in Nevada at 69.5 %. Coal adopted renewables at 9 %. Next have been hydroelectric at three.three % and petroleum at less than zero.01 %.

At present, earlier than the Nevada legislature is a bill to double the state’s renewable portfolio commonplace to 50 % by 2030 from the current 25 % by 2025. This commonplace is the amount of electricity bought by a power utility to retail clients that should come from renewable sources, 6 % of which have to be solar generated. Senate Bill 350 also would require wholly carbon-free emissions by 2050.

Cannon stated NV Power helps the bill and is committed to including more renewable power assets to its system. With its built-in resource plan, permitted by the Public Utilities Fee of Nevada (PUCN) in December 2018, NV Power will deliver 1,001 megawatts of latest renewable power to the state, including 100 megawatts of battery storage capability. The PUCN regulates the 400 investor-owned utilities in the Silver State.

Representing a $2.2 billion funding, six photovoltaic solar tasks (three in the north, three within the south) are being built by totally different builders, will increase the utility’s renewable power portfolio to about 3,000 megawatts. These tasks are scheduled to be completed by the top of 2021. From most to least energy era, they’re:

Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm: 300 MW, north of Las Vegas on land owned by the Moapa Band of Paiutes, developer 8minutenergy Renewables

Copper Mountain Photo voltaic 5: 250 MW, Eldorado Valley, south of Boulder Metropolis, CED Southwest Holdings, Inc.

Dodge Flat Photo voltaic Power Middle: 200 MW with 50 MW of battery power storage, east of Reno, NextEra Power Assets LLC

Battle Mountain Solar Challenge: 101 MW, including 25 MW of battery power storage, close to Battle Mountain, Cypress Creek Renewables

Fish Springs Ranch Photo voltaic Power Middle: 100 MW with 25 MW of battery power storage, north of Reno, NextEra Power Assets LLC

Techren Photo voltaic V: 50 MW, adjacent to Techren Solar I, II, III and IV in Eldorado Valley, Techren Solar LLC

“For the first time we’ll be adding large-scale battery storage onto those projects,” Cannon stated. “We’re excited to get experience with these batteries to provide more benefits to the grid.”

Southwest Fuel has been pursuing, with numerous potential partners, the addition of renewable natural fuel to its belongings and expects that may come to fruition subsequent yr. The utility would collaborate with entities that generate methane fuel as an operational byproduct, for example sewage remedy crops and dairy farms. The methane can be captured, cleaned and added to Southwest’s distribution system.

“It creates a carbon neutral or carbon positive source of fuel,” Hester stated. “It’s a nice opportunity to make natural gas even greener than it already is.”

Nevada also is increasingly shifting away from carbon-intense energies like coal and diesel to renewables and pure fuel, Hester stated. As an example, NV Power will not personal any coal era crops in Southern Nevada by year-end and is scheduled to retire its Valmy plant in Northern Nevada in 2021, Cannon stated.

Additionally, Southwest Fuel is expanding its Nevada service territory, notably in the rural areas. It most lately added Mesquite in February.

Another power supplier, to Nevada’s rural areas, Pahrump-based Valley Electric Association Inc. (VEA), has been plagued with scandal lately. Mismanagement and an sudden March price hike by the cooperative have lots of its 7,500 members outraged and wanting the whole board ousted. VEA supplies electrical energy to greater than 45,000 Nevadans inside a 6,800-square-mile area between Fish Lake Valley and Sandy Valley.

Most just lately, when this situation went to press, the VEA had a meeting scheduled for April 27 for its members to “address concerns regarding fiduciary responsibilities and the process for recalling VEA board members,” in accordance to a information release.

VEA Members for Change, the entity that represents the disgruntled VEA members, announced by way of Facebook on March 16 it had collected sufficient petition signatures to “hold a special meeting on April 20 for the purpose of presenting charges against the board members for their removal” and had notified the governing physique of such.

In early March, the VEA board appointed an interim CEO, Richard Peck, who will serve till further notice.

All of those strikes resulted from a string of occasions unfolding after VEA’s former CEO, Tom Husted, resigned rapidly in late spring 2018 after ten-plus years in the place. The board, in October 2018, appointed then chief operating officer Angela Evans as the brand new CEO.

In early February, the VEA announced a fee improve to $zero.12 per kWh from $0.11 to go into effect March 1, despite members beforehand having been assured charges would remain secure by way of 2024. Subsequently, in late February, Evans was arrested on costs of embezzlement stemming from about $75,000 value of work finished involving energy strains at her residence, which was charged to the VEA. Thereafter, the VEA board placed her on administrative depart.

Claims have been made that Husted allegedly sexually harassed a former employee after which paid greater than $1 million of VEA funds as hush money to sure staff who knew about it, together with Evans. Additional, it’s been charged the corporate raised member rates to recoup these cover-up funds.

Days before her arrest, Evans said all the allegations of legal exercise by then VEA staff have been false and the rate improve was needed primarily as a result of VEA’s prices to present service had been rising steadily over the last decade. Additional, she noted that an audit of VEA’s funds by an outdoor agency for the interval between Jan. 1, 2016 and July 31, 2018 was clean, displaying no evidence of wrongdoing or funds mismanagement.

Last month, Peck said in a TV news interview that aside from the current price hike, VEA plans no other vital modifications in the near term.

Wanting ahead, Nevada can anticipate its power business in the near future to change even more, embody extra electrification and continue investing in infrastructure to meet growing calls for.

“The conversation will continue to be very focused on how we reduce carbon in the environment, what’s the role of the electric industry in reducing that carbon and where do we want to take our energy in the future,” Cannon stated.

Water

In Southern Nevada, the water supply is “strong and resilient,” stated John Entsminger, thanks to conservation, infrastructure investments and useful resource planning.

“From a resource and facilities perspective, we have the situation well in hand,” he stated.

Entsminger is the overall supervisor of the Las Vegas Valley Water District (LVVWD) and the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA). The LVVWD is the most important of seven member businesses comprising SNWA, from whom it receives water wholesale. The LVVWD then sells it retail to its clients in the city of Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County.

“We don’t show a scenario in our resource plan where we need to be bringing in new supplies in the next 30 years, even under the worst hydrologic scenario on the Colorado River,” Entsminger stated.

Nevertheless, he emphasized, having sufficient water for the region depends upon the complete group maintaining and enhancing its conservation efforts. The utility’s main initiatives in this regard are getting clients to comply with the prevailing guidelines and removing the almost 5,000 acres of non-functional, unused turf generally situated in medians, visitors circles, pocket parks and the like. Success with the previous alone would end in a savings of tens of hundreds of acre-feet of water (one acre-foot of water is enough for 2 to three single-family houses for a yr).

Additionally necessary in defending Nevada’s water useful resource, Entsminger stated, is the federal Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act, launched on April 2 by two U.S. senators from New Mexico. The regulation would implement the water conservation measures agreed upon by the seven Colorado River Basin states (Nevada is one) and Native American tribes to make sure the river’s sustainability and to shield Lake Mead and Lake Powell’s reservoir ranges.

Relating to amenities, SNWA may have $1.5 billion value of latest amenities at Lake Mead completed by April 2020, which assure it may well extract water out of the lake regularly.

To satisfy financial and population progress within the southwest, west and northwest elements of the Vegas Valley, the LVVWD is in the midst of a “robust” system enlargement, the primary because the Great Recession. Development of a lot of new pump stations and reservoirs, now within the design part, is part of the 10-year $616 million capital enchancment plan the LVVWD board accepted in 2017.

The utility’s priorities within the ensuing years are making further positive aspects in conservation, having the required amenities in place and, via demand management and partnering with neighbors, making certain water is obtainable.

“You’re going to see stability because we’re planners. Our job is to look out multiple decades and make sure nothing’s going to sneak up on us,” Entsminger stated.

In Northern Nevada, a wet winter brought almost double the typical snowpack, which suggests “all of our reservoirs will fill and spill, and because of that, the water supply situation really could not get any better than this,” stated Mark Foree, basic supervisor, Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA), the water utility for the Higher Reno-Sparks area and elements of Washoe County.

“We do have ample water resources to provide for expected growth over the next 20 years and beyond,” he added.

TMWA is experiencing progress all through its system, which requires planning, design, new amenities development, operation, upkeep and rehabilitation, Foree stated. The utility at present is updating its 20-year water resource plan, an every five yr occasion, this round of which ought to be completed in a few yr. A part of that planning is for capital enhancements to present infrastructure.

One other part is planning for drought durations. In the present day, TMWA stores water in the course of the winters in upstream reservoirs on the Truckee River which are federally owned and operated. This is the result of the Truckee River Working Settlement completed in 2015 after 27 years of negotiation.

“That’s been a big change,” Foree stated. “It really sets us up for several decades of expected growth.”

The place attainable, TMWA is maximizing using Truckee River surface water by shifting it into the groundwater-dependent methods in its portfolio and minimizing using pumped groundwater by briefly taking the required wells offline. The utility plans to do exactly that with its new asset, acquired in March, the West Reno Water System near Boomtown in Verdi, after connecting it to the primary system.

“We have seen groundwater levels recover and rise because of that,” Foree stated.

Additionally, the utility is constructing a water remedy plant off of Mt. Rose Highway within the Galena area. Water from Whites Creek shall be treated at the new facility and used, once more to exchange a number of the pumped groundwater in the space. The plant is slated to be up and operating in a few yr.

As for renewable power efforts, TMWA generates hydroelectric power from its three run-of-the-river crops then sells to NV Power what its water system doesn’t use. Final yr, the sellback yielded $three.76 million for TMWA.

“That’s saying quite a bit if you have renewable energy-generating facilities that can produce nearly all of what you use in terms of power,” Foree stated. “We really look at it as a cost benefit to our customers.”

For the subsequent few years, TMWA will remain targeted on managing and holding pace with all the progress, stated Foree.