NV Energy drops renewable transmission initiative

NV Energy (NYSE:NVE) is dropping its renewable transmission initiative after determining there is insufficient interest from renewable energy developers to justify the project, according to company CEO Michael Yackira.

“We’ve completed our assessment and determined that [interest] is insufficient to proceed with the project at this time,” Yackira said during a conference call with analysts July 27, noting that, “While we are disappointed, we remain committed to exploring other avenues for transmission investment.”

The company’s original plan was to develop a network of five 345-kV and 500-kV power lines to move renewable energy from Nevada into California. Although there was interest, the company didn’t receive enough interest from developers who were willing to pay the costs of building those lines, Yackira said.

“We [a]re not going forward because of lack of response to the follow-on phases” of the renewable transmission initiative, Yackira said, adding that “it’s not stopping us from looking at other transmission opportunities even though they’re not particularly defined at this stage.”

Another transmission project still on track

Yackira noted that the company’s triennial integrated resource plan filed with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada June 29 includes an update regarding the ON Line transmission project, which is a 500-kV line “that will for the first time electrically connect our northern and southern systems.”

Yackira said, “Besides allowing for joint dispatch of NV Energy’s generation, ON Line will provide transmission access for renewable energy projects throughout Nevada.” The line is expected to be in service by the end of 2013. The cost is estimated at $552m based on anticipated design changes.

NV Energy still plans to merge its two utilities on or about the in-service date of ON Line, Yackira said, noting that the company will be required to file for regulatory approval of the merger about six months before ON Line is complete.