Nevada Moves Ahead on Renewable Energy Policy

Gov. Kenny Guinn announced that representatives from the Governor’s Office, renewable developers, the state’s two investor-owned utilities, the State Consumer Advocate and the staff of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) agreed on regulatory and legislative proposals that meet Nevada’s strict renewable energy portfolio standard.

Carson, City, Nevada – July 20, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] “We are accomplishing two things today,” Guinn said. “We are proposing changes that will give investors in Nevada renewable projects additional reasonable guarantees that they will receive a fair return on their investments. We are also giving our utilities a chance to use more renewable energy, sooner.” The proposals are outlined in three documents filed with the PUC. They are: a petition asking that a rulemaking docket be opened, draft changes to the PUC’s regulations and draft changes to Nevada’s Revised Statutes. Guinn has agreed to file the draft statutory changes with the Legislative Commission or the Legislature at the time the PUC files its adopted regulation. The filings are expected to occur in early September. Proposed regulatory changes give the PUC the authority to create a “Temporary Renewable Energy Development” (TRED) trust that receives renewable energy payments from the utilities’ rate payers, and makes scheduled payments to renewable developers for energy delivered to utilities. New PUC authority also allows separation of such revenues from other payments made to utilities so that they are not “commingled” with general revenues. These steps are necessary because investors who should provide the capital for renewable projects are concerned that impaired credit status of the two utilities might interfere with the repayment schedules. Statutory changes, if approved by the Legislature, provide protections for the TRED trust similar to those granted to selected utility contracts and certain state revenue bonds, and would prevent a future PUC from countermanding a PUC Resource Plan order that determined a project was in the public interest and prudent. “This effort involved the joint commitment of some individuals and organizations that usually have no need to work together,” said Richard Burdette, Guinn’s energy advisor. “Nevada’s renewable energy development was interrupted by financial events of 2002, but will be put back on track by this initiative.”
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