Nevada's two investor-owned electric utilities, Nevada Power Company and Sierra Nevada Power, administer customer energy efficiency programs that are funded by a systems benefits charge on customer bills. Both utilities are subsidiaries of NV Energy; since 2008, they have done business under the NV Energy brand. Nevada's recently amended renewable energy portfolio standard allows energy efficiency to be used in partial fulfillment of its portfolio requirements. Nevada utilities can earn performance incentives for successfully meeting energy efficiency goals. The levels of funding and program services have grown rapidly since Nevada reestablished requirements for energy efficiency programs provided by the state's electric utilities, as well as integrated resource planning. The Consortium for Energy Efficiency reports 2010 electric utility energy efficiency program budgets totaling $45 million. According to the Energy Information Administration, Nevada utilities reported electric efficiency program savings of 438,622 in 2009.
Reported budgets for energy efficiency programs for 2011, and electricity savings for 2010, are in the State Spending and Savings Tables.
Nevada returned to a traditional regulated utility structure after it restructured its industry in the late 1990s. Nevada’s vertically integrated, investor-owned utilities are required to perform integrated resource planning and related demand-side management programs.
If its 2010-2012 plan is approved by the Public Utility Commission of Nevada (PUCN), Nevada Power Company expects to save about 3.6% of its sales from efficiency measures adopted during that time.
The utility companies administer the energy efficiency programs with oversight by the PUCN. They hire contractors to implement the programs. The companies propose a budget and program plan to the PUCN as part of integrated resource planning requirements. The utility companies must have their program plans and budgets approved by the PUCN prior to implementation.
Sierra Nevada Power offers a limited set of natural gas efficiency programs.
According to the Energy Information Administration, Nevada utilities reported electric efficiency program savings of 438,622 MWh in 2009, about 1.3% of 2009 retail sales. Reported budgets for energy efficiency programs for 2011, and electricity savings for 2010, are in the State Spending and Savings Tables.
The utility companies collect an energy efficiency system benefits charge through customers' electric rates. The companies file general rate cases every two years, at which time they request full recovery of their program costs.
The Southwest Energy Efficiency Project reports that Nevada Power Company (NPC) filed a new Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada on February 1, 2010. This plan includes a 20% increase in their budget for core energy efficiency programs. Nevada utilities more than doubled their 2007 annual electric energy efficiency program expenditures of $18.2 million to over $40 million in 2008. Actual spending on electric programs increased to $42.2 million in 2009 and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency reports 2010 electric utility energy efficiency program budgets totaling $45 million, and natural gas budgets of $3.4 million.
Reported budgets for energy efficiency programs for 2011 are in the State Spending and Savings Tables.
Summary: 5% Renewable energy by 2025—energy efficiency may meet a quarter of the standard in any given year, or 6.25% cumulative savings by 2025.
In 1997, Nevada established a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) as part of its restructuring legislation. Assembly Bill (AB) 3 of 2005 revised the RPS, increasing the portfolio requirement to 20% by 2015 and allowing the utilities to use energy efficiency to help meet the requirements. Amendments in Senate Bill 358 of 2009 raised the standard to 25% by 2025. Energy efficiency measures qualify if they are subsidized by the electric utility, reduce demand (as opposed to shifting peak demand to off-peak hours), and are implemented or sited at a retail customer’s location after January 1, 2005. Energy efficiency savings can meet up to a quarter of the total standard in any given year. AB1 of 2007 expanded the definition of efficiency resources to include district heating systems powered by geothermal hot water.
The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) established a program to allow energy providers to buy and sell portfolio energy credits (PECs) in order to meet energy portfolio requirements. 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.
Since they are cumulative savings goals, the 25% target in 2025 will require only 6.25% of its sales in 2025 to be met with energy efficiency over a twenty-year period. The average annual savings goals for periods 2009-2011, 2011-2013, and 2013-2015 will be 0.375%, dropping to 0.25% for the next two five year intervals.
Nevada has no Natural Gas EERS.
On May 23, 2011, the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) issued an order approving the recovery of lost revenues from demand-side management (DSM) programs for NV Energy, parent company of Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific Power Companies. This is the first filing under new regulations that provide for the recovery of DSM expenses and lost revenues in an annual balancing account.
In 2008, the Commission adopted temporary rules allowing gas utilities to propose decoupling their profits from their sales in a general rate case filed within one year of the approval of their energy efficiency programs. The rules specify a revenue-per-customer system for determining utility revenues. The PSC adjusts this revenue on a per-class basis (i.e., “residential”) (NPSC Docket No. 07-06046 and Nevada Admin. Code 704.953). Gas utilities in Nevada can choose to either implement decoupling or use a performance incentive.
In July 2010 the Commission adopted a lost revenue recovery mechanism providing for annual recovery of NV Energy’s efficiency program expenses and its fixed cost revenues lost from the reduced sales caused by the efficiency programs. A previous 5% additional rate of return incentive was eliminated, and instead a party may file a request for an incentive on a program-by-program basis.
Nevada Administrative Code §704.934 directs each regulated utility to submit a plan for conservation and load management as part of its resource plan. The plan must include, among other things:
The evaluationof ratepayer-funded energy efficiency programs in Nevada relies on regulatory orders (NAC 704). Evaluations are mainly administered by the utilities and are conducted statewide and for each of the utilities. There are no specific legal requirements for these evaluations in Nevada. Nevada uses two of the five classic benefit-cost tests identified in the California Standard Practice Manual. These are the Total Resource Cost (TRC) and Social Cost (SCT) test. Nevada specifies the TRC to be its primary test for decision making. The benefit-cost tests are required for overall portfolio, total program, and individual measure level screening. The rules for benefit-cost tests are stated in NAC 704.934. Some exceptions exist in the application of benefit-cost tests to low-income programs, pilots, and new technologies. Screening levels vary by utility.