NV Energy CEO says new $1 billion power plant not certain | NevadaAppeal.com

NV Energy CEO says new $1 billion power plant not certain

The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — NV Energy’s CEO says there’s no guarantee the utility will go through with a controversial proposal to build a new $1 billion power plant.

Paul Caudill told the Public Utilities Commission earlier this week that there’s been a misunderstanding about the status of the natural-gas fired generating plant that’s drawing opposition from small business, solar and environmental groups.

The company owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has asked regulators for $2.4 million to study plans for the 706-megawatt project as its “preferred plan.” The analysis would examine potential designs, air quality effects and transmission options, should the plant be built.

“Let me be clear, NV Energy has not requested permission to build a new natural-gas-fired generating plant in 2020,” Caudill told the panel.

“We will not develop a new, company-owned generating plant without evaluating all reasonable alternatives and obtaining commission approval through an open, public process,” he said, according to the Las Vegas Sun (http://tinyurl.com/ndfl98g).

The proposal first appeared in a 4,493-page report NV Energy filed with the commission last month detailing the company’s energy supply plan for the next 30 years.

As a regulated monopoly, NV Energy is allowed to earn up to a 9.8 percent return on equity for infrastructure projects. That would make it possible to return almost $100 million to its shareholders for construction of the plant.

The new plant would likely help replace the output of the company’s coal facilities, which NV Energy will phase out over the next four years.

The power company also indicated in the report it likely will end a contract with Star West Generation, which owns a natural gas power plant in Arizona that provides energy to the grid during Nevada’s hottest months.