CEO of NV Energy highlights great role of geothermal for State of Nevada

Stillwater hybrid geothermal-solar plant, Nevada (source: Enel, video screenshot)
Alexander Richter 6 Nov 2017

Raising the significant value of geothermal energy as baseload option, the CEO of NV Energy highlights the significant value of geothermal energy for the state of Nevada and the need for a proper evaluation thereof.

In a passionate interview, Paul Caudill, the CEO of NV Energy, Nevada’s largest utility owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy, talks about his company’s stand and commitment on renewable energy in the state of Nevada. The interview follows state-efforts for a restructuring of Nevada’s power market with a drive towards a competitive markets with lower costs of electricity.

Particularly interesting are his comments regarding geothermal. Today, geothermal plants contribute more than half of the clean energy that the utility relies on to meet the state’s renewable portfolio standard. Yet geothermal, which is relatively more expensive than solar, is often left out of the conversation about renewables.

“I see a brighter future for geothermal energy than we have for the last five, six years here. In the early days — go back 30 years — some of our longest power purchase agreements were with geothermal plants. It was a resource that was number one in those days because of the cost of solar and the fact that wind is not a great resource here. Geothermal was the place to go if you wanted renewable energy here. And then what happened is solar costs came down. When you look at just least-cost planning and you say, ‘I’m only going to approve and buy those renewable assets that are the cheapest,’  geothermal’s price is higher.”

“But as you go to higher penetrations of renewable energy displacing thermal plants, geothermal has a significant value. And that is you can dispatch it. 24/7. We can use geothermal plants at night when we can’t use a solar facility. I think there is a significant value there. And as you start pushing to increase [solar] penetration on the grid, geothermal is going to become more valued.”


Source: The Nevada Independent