Nevada Casinos Criticise NV Energy Solar Power Rates, as it Powers Allegiant Stadium for the First Time
Lawyers from several operators behind dozens of famous Nevada casino venues have come together to question a new request from utility NV Energy.
The Berkshire Hathway-owned energy supplier is constructing a $2.5 billion solar power project to bring energy from Nevada’s desert areas to power stations in Las Vegas. The power line project will also transfer power from other sources, including wind, geothermal, and natural gas, to provide for the company’s 1.5 million customers.
However, NV Energy recently contacted the Nevada Public Utilities Commission with a request to increase its Return on Equity – or the rate of return for shareholders. Lawyers for various large Nevada casino venues question if this is necessary, when the decision could put large customers (aka the casinos) on the hook for $34 million a year to fill the hole.
However, that criticism comes at a time when NV Energy is deepening its ties with infrastructure projects across Nevada. It recently used its existing operations to help Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas become the first NFL stadium to be fully powered by renewable energy.
The stadium’s recent Monday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers marked the first NFL game at a fully renewably powered stadium.
Allegiant Stadium’s Green Milestone
The NFL milestone is in line with the Las Vegas Raiders’ commitment to the community and sustainable initiatives.
“This is great to kind of be the first in something, we hope others will follow. It’s another testament to our commitment to the community and to sustainable initiatives,” said Sandra Douglass Morgan, president of the Las Vegas Raiders, speaking to KNTV Las Vegas.
While the stadium itself doesn’t have solar panels, it utilizes solar energy supplied by NV Energy. The utility company assures that this shift will not impact the energy consumption or availability for its other customers. Beyond this, the Raiders have also been involved in other green programs, repurposing over 160,000 lbs of green waste.
National Solar company ADT Solar highlighted that while approximately 23% of NFL stadiums utilize solar power to some extent, Allegiant Stadium is the only one to have made a complete transition.
The average NFL stadium consumes energy equivalent to powering 5,000 homes during a game day.
“I do know the renewable energy solution is actually reducing our cost saving not only today, but for many, many years in the future,” Douglass Morgan said.
Not the Result of Prudent Business Management
While the Allegiant Stadium celebrates its transition to green energy, several of Nevada’s major casinos have raised concerns over NV Energy’s proposed rate hikes.
Lawyers representing MGM Resorts International, a division of Caesars Entertainment, the Venetian, Wynn Resorts, Station Casinos, and Boyd Gaming have all expressed their objections to the plan.
They argue that the proposed hikes would significantly impact their operational costs.
The casinos have emphasized that while they support the transition to renewable energy, any rate hikes should be openly and fairly discussed before implementation.
“Little detail is offered as to what these ‘capital expenditures’ are for, and (NV Energy) should be required to answer this question before any additional ROE is authorized,” says a legal brief from the casinos’ lawyers.
Caesars and MGM’s joint brief went one step further, accusing NV Energy of mismanagement.
“Substantial evidence in the record demonstrates that the Utility’s proposed increases are not the result of prudent business management, responsible decision-making, sound fiscal strategies, or efficient operations,” lawyers said.
Without regulated Nevada online casinos, however, overheads are high and utility rate hikes are always a concern.