Warren Buffet’s NV Energy, via Berkshire Hathaway, is a public utility that provides electric energy to northern and southern Nevada, including the Las Vegas. NV Energy’s electricity production serves about 1.3 million customers and over 40 million tourists annually. The vast majority of the NV Energy’s electricity supply came from gas and coal. Over the next few years this will change dramatically for Nevada.
NV Energy Inc. has announced it has agreed to buy 1 gigawatt of solar power from six new solar energy projects in the state. This will be enough to power more than 600,000 homes. And will include 100 megawatts of battery storage systems. The projects are expected to be operational by the end of 2021.
This is a stark shift in strategy for a utility company that was until recently fighting to destroy the solar energy industry in Nevada.
Up until 2017, NV Energy actively lobbied with state regulators to limit the total amount of energy homeowners and small businesses were allowed to generate. NV Energy didn’t stop there. NV Energy fought with state politicians to rewrite net-metering policies within the state.
For those who are not familiar, net metering is a policy adopted in most states across the US in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred onto the grid. This effectively allows customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility.
In 2016, NV Energy won a debate versus the rooftop solar industry and was able established “less favorable” net metering rates for rooftop solar customers in Nevada. This action by lawmakers essentially eliminated any incentives for homeowners and businesses to generate their own power.
All this has enraged Nevadans to the point where lawmaker’s toke notice and were forced to overturn this ruling. In March 2017, Democrats in the state introduced a bill to restore net metering to all utility customers. The bill set floor rate customers would be paid when they sell their excess energy back to utilities.
Fast-forward to 2018 and it seems NV Energy has given up the fight with solar and decided to embrace the renewable technology. It only makes sense for the NV Energy to utilize solar energy in such a sun rich region like the Nevada deserts. A true sign of the times.