NV Energy and Apple lock in ‘lowest cost’ PPA prices as section 201 decision looms

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NV Energy has requested approval from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada for three long-term PPA’s in Nevada totalling 100MW.

The low cost projects come shortly after Section 201 recommendations for duties and quotas were made by the US International trade commission (ITC) that was met with disappointment from large swathes of the solar industry.

President Trump is expected to make the final ruling on the case by early January in a decision that could have grave implications for the downstream market.

A spokesperson for NV Energy told PV Tech: “NV Energy has simply contracted extremely favourable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) prices for solar projects to be built in Nevada. Obviously it is the developer’s/constructor’s responsibility to source the PV panels for those projects.”

The Turquoise Nevada 50MW project is the largest of the three and will be constructed at the Reno Technology Park in Washoe, Nevada. It is backed up by a 25 year PPA with NV Energy and expected to be in operation by the end of 2020.

Under the agreement Apple will commit to purchase all the renewable energy credits associated from the proposed 50MW facility. Apple is committed to offset 100% of its load with renewable energy sources.

NV Energy, said: “Apple’s commitment provides an anchor to support the development of the incremental renewable generating unit”.

The Turquoise Nevada PPA is a 25 year-term with a base price of US$30.99 per year MWh escalating at two percent per year. The project is expected to generate 115,545MWh in the first year and a net capacity of 50MW.

The Long-term Renewables PPA for qualifying facilities with Techrean has been set at a base tariff energy rate of US$32.43 per MWh and levelled price at US$34.20 per MWh for the 25-year contract term.

Paul Caudill, president at NV Energy, said: “These new projects signal an important step toward NV Energy's commitment to partner with our customers in order to serve them with 100% renewable energy”. 

The PPA includes options for Sierra, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NV Energy, to purchase the asset five times between the sixth year and the end of term.

The other proposals are for two 25MW projects, the Techren Solar 3 and Techren Solar 4 will supply North and South Nevada respectively. Plans are set for it to be operational by 1 September 2020 or possibly sooner.

Pat Egan, NV Energy senior vice-president, said: “To the best of our knowledge, Techren 3 and 4 are the lowest-cost universal solar power purchase agreements entered into in the United States.”

Techren Solar 3 and Techren Solar 4 will be located next to the 300MW Techren Solar 1 and 2 projects that are in development in Boulder City's Eldorado Valley.

With demand for 100% renewable NV Energy is planning for the next stage of its growth and have submitted a separate request with the Public Commission of Nevada to utilise the NV GreenEnergy Rider programme.

NV GreenEnergy Rider provides opportunity for Sierra to accommodate an eligible customer’s request to have all or a portion of its load offset by generation from renewable energy sources.

“We are excited to help bring the largest solar energy field in Northern Nevada to a reality, and we appreciate the dedication many large Nevada customers have to using the NV GreenEnergy Rider program to offset their energy usage using renewable resources,” said Egan.

All three projects will include work site agreements with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers with an estimated to fill nine permanent job positions and use up to 250 construction workers.

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