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Nevada - State With Well-Defined RPS

image credit: Nevada Independent
Joe Deely's picture
Partner Deely Group

Involved with high-tech for last 30 years. Interested in energy.

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  • Apr 20, 2022
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We often hear goals for states like x% reduction in CO2 by 2050 or x% share for renewables by 2040.  With these dates far in the future it's hard to evaluate whether sufficient progress is being made to meet these goals.

One state that has passed a much clearer/easier to follow rule is Nevada.  Back in 2011, Nevada passed a RPS standard that called for 25% renewables by 2025. However, in addition to the 2025 requirement Nevada provided interim requirements.  Nice!  Much easier to to follow and check progress.

  • 2013 - 18%
  • 2020 - 20%
  • 2025 - 25%

This was upgraded in 2019 when Nevada passed  - Senate Bill 358 - that requires the state to generate 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030. Again, in addition to the 2030 requirement - this rule provided interim requirements.

  • 2021: 24%
  • 2022-2023: 29%
  • 2024-2026: 34%
  • 2027-2029: 42%

Note: Nevada also clearly defines what constitutes renewable energy.

  • Biomass
  • Geothermal
  • Solar
  • Water
  • Wind

Let’s check to see how Nevada has done with renewables since 2015 using EIA data.

From this data we see that the original 2011 RPS standard for 2025 - 25% - was met early - in fact this goal was achieved in  2017. 

Plus we can see that the new RPS interim standard for 2021 as well as the 2022/23 interim standard of 29% have also already been met. However, it gets harder from here. Renewable generation will need to grow by 11% before 2027 and 19% by 2030.

How might this happen? As you can see from the chart above, most of the recent growth has come from solar.  I think solar will need to double its 16% share in 2021 to 32% by 2030. Geothermal will add a couple of % and wind add 1% as well. Assume BioMass and Water stay flat. This would get us to the 50% share.

Note: utility scale solar capacity in Nevada was 2,300 MW in Jan 2021. This number will need to get near 5,000 MW by 2030. Will also need to add a lot of battery capacity. Below are some planned projects over the next few years.

I expect the 50 % 2030 RPS in Nevada to be met by 2027.  Hopefully around that time we see another bill being passed that calls for at least an 80% RPS by 2040.  Plus, maybe by then nuclear will be a viable option and Nevada can include that technology in its definition.

 

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Apr 21, 2022

Great to see the accountability and the near-term goals. Those 2040/2050 goals often seem intentionally far out because those in charge of setting them can claim 'success' in passing such measures without being in office still at the point at which those targets would potentially be missed. When broken down to near-term stepping stones, we definitely see a lot more accountability and progress. 

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Apr 21, 2022

Matt,

Yep... only thing I would like added to this RPS is an annual report showing where things stand.

There was another piece of good news recently in Nevada. The last utility-owned coal plant in Nevada - North Valmy - is scheduled to close in 2025 and will be replaced by a combination of solar/storage.

However, there is still a gold mine which operates a substantial coal plant - the 242MW TS Power Plant. The owner of this plant - Barrick -  recently announced that they will begin construction of a 200MW solar project in the 3rd quarter of this year.  This is part of a larger project which will also convert the current coal plant to run on NG. This means that Nevada will be coal-free after 2025. Another Western state with zero coal generation. Steady progress.

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