Nevada established a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) as part of its 1997 restructuring legislation. Under the standard, NV Energy (formerly Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power) must use eligible renewable energy resources to supply a minimum percentage of the total electricity it sells. In 2001, the state increased the minimum requirement by 2% every two years, culminating in a 15% requirement by 2013. The portfolio requirement has been subsequently revised, most recently by [http://www.leg.state.nv.us/75th2009/Bills/SB/SB358_EN.pdf SB 358] of 2009, which increased the requirement to 25% by 2025. The 2009 amendments also raised the solar carve-out, requiring utilities to meet 6% of their portfolio requirement through solar energy beginning in calendar year 2016. The solar carve-out remains at 5% through the end of calendar year 2015.
[http://www.leg.state.nv.us/Session/22nd2005Special/bills/AB/AB3_EN.pdf AB 3] of 2005 allowed efficiency measures to be used to satisfy a portion of the requirement. To qualify as portfolio energy credits, efficiency measures must be: (1) implemented after January 1, 2005; (2) sited or implemented at a retail customer’s location; and (3) partially or fully subsidized by the electric utility. The measure must also reduce the customer’s energy demand (as opposed to shifting demand to off-peak hours). The contribution from energy efficiency measures to meet the portfolio standard is capped at one-quarter of the total standard in any particular year. [http://www.leg.state.nv.us/74th/Bills/AB/AB1_EN.pdf AB1 of 2007] expanded the definition of efficiency resources to include district heating systems powered by geothermal hot water.
The following schedule is currently in effect:
* 6% renewables/efficiency in 2005 and 2006
* 9% renewables/efficiency in 2007 and 2008
* 12% renewables/efficiency in 2009 and 2010
* 15% renewables/efficiency in 2011 and 2012
* 18% renewables/efficiency in 2013 and 2014
* 20% renewables/efficiency in 2015 through 2019
* 22% renewables/efficiency in 2020 through 2024
* 25% renewables/efficiency in 2025 and thereafter
In addition to solar, qualifying renewable energy resources include biomass, geothermal energy, wind, certain hydropower, energy recovery processes*, and waste tires (using microwave reduction).
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) has established a program to allow energy providers to buy and sell portfolio energy credits ([http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives/incentive.cfm?Incentive_Code=NV09F&re... PECs]) in order to meet energy portfolio requirements. One PEC represents one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated by a portfolio energy system, with the exception of photovoltaics (PV), for which 2.4 PECs are credited per one actual kWh of energy produced. An adder of 0.05 is tacked on to the 2.4 multiplier for PV if the system is deemed by the PUCN to be a customer-maintained distributed generation system; that is, customer-sited PV is eligible for a 2.45 multiplier. In addition, the number of kWh saved by energy efficiency measures is multiplied by 1.05 to determine the number of PECs. For electricity saved during peak periods as a result of efficiency measures, the credit multiplier is increased to 2.0. PECs are valid for a period of four years.
To help facilitate the renewable projects required by the renewable energy portfolio standard, the PUCN established the Temporary Renewable Energy Development (TRED) Program. The TRED Program is meant to insure prompt payment to renewable energy providers in order to encourage completion of renewable energy projects. The TRED Program establishes: (1) a TRED charge, allowing investor-owned utilities to collect revenue from electricity customers to pay for renewable energy separate from other wholesale power purchased by the electric utilities; and (2) an independent TRED trust to receive the proceeds from the TRED charge and remit payment to renewable energy projects that deliver renewable energy to purchasing electric utilities.
NV Energy and Barrick Goldstrike were in compliance for program year 2011 for solar and non-solar components of the Nevada RPS.
*''The statutes define "energy recovery processes" as electricity generating systems with a nameplate capacity of 15 megawatts or less that convert the otherwise lost energy from "the heat from exhaust stacks or pipes used for engines or manufacturing or industrial processes; or the reduction of high pressure in water or gas pipelines before the distribution of the water or gas." To qualify, the system cannot use additional fossil fuel or require a combustion process to generate the electricity.''