The energy industry is changing. To power our city, we are adopting new, efficient and sustainable technologies to better serve our customers and reduce our impacts on the environment.
To do this, our Utilities Board on Monday decided to accelerate an essential transmission project. One that will allow us to decommission two power plants inside the city, Drake located downtown and Birdsall on North Nevada, while importing replacement power.
The source of this replacement power may vary. Options include new generation outside city limits and even neighboring utilities.
Partnering with neighboring utilities in a regional transmission organization (RTO) is an opportunity that we will continue to explore over the next year. Participation in an RTO has the potential to provide significant value and efficiencies for our customers, while increasing grid resiliency and access to renewable energy, like wind.
This new line transporting power to our downtown substation will be critical for system reliability once Drake is decommissioned. Plus, it provides maximum flexibility in meeting the electric demands of our growing city and determining a closure date for the plant, whether that’s 2035 or earlier remains to be decided by the Utilities Board.
Even though we have spent the greater portion of the past year studying earlier decommissioning dates for the Drake Power Plant, uncertainties remain. These include participation in a RTO, regulatory requirements, breakthrough technologies, fuel prices and the value of the land.
In order to make a more informed decision, we will continue this venture over the next few years. We will conduct a complete site assessment study at Drake and kick-off our next Electrical Integrated Research Plan.
Armed with this information, along with a transmission solution to replace generation from both the Drake and Birdsall Power Plants, we will be able to continue providing our customers with safe, reliable and affordable power.