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Another casino seeks to leave NV Energy for new power supplier

Joining the exodus from traditional utilities, Station Casinos and Fulcrum Sierra Biofuels LLC have filed applications with Nevada regulators to purchase power from suppliers other than NV Energy Inc.

The Las Vegas, Nev., gambling and resort company wants to buy energy, capacity and ancillary services for its hotels and casinos from Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc., which provides power marketing and energy services. Station Casinos wants to begin taking energy from its new provider on Dec. 1 for an initial term of five years.

Station's current annual load with NV Energy's Nevada Power Co. subsidiary is about 285,000 MWh, according to Station's June 6 application to the Public Utilities Commission. Station said Morgan Stanley will comply with Nevada's renewable portfolio standard. The casino company also said it will pay an appropriate exit fee, if any, determined by the commission.

The PUC has previously assessed multimillion-dollar impact fees that exiting companies have had to pay to compensate NV Energy for stranded costs and lost revenue from departing customers. Station is the latest in a growing list of NV Energy's large customers that have sought alternative energy suppliers, as the price of renewable energy, particularly solar photovoltaics, has plummeted. At the same time, customers such as data center provider Switch Inc. have adopted corporate goals to obtain maximum supplies of renewable energy.

Unlike Station, Fulcrum said it should not have to pay any impact fees. Along with its June 6 application to the PUC, Fulcrum enclosed an Oct. 4, 2017, letter in which it asked NV Energy to exclude the biorefinery from its energy supply plans because the biofuels company does not intend to be a utility generation customer.

Fulcrum said it wants to buy its own electricity starting on Sept. 1, 2019. It recently began construction of a biorefinery at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center in Storey County, Nev., which is in NV Energy subsidiary Sierra Pacific Power Co.'s service territory. Fulcrum said it is negotiating with several potential energy providers.

Despite the departures of major customers, NV Energy continues to make arrangements to increase its own renewable energy supplies. The company said on May 31 that it has contracted for 1,001 MW of solar capacity with six major projects that would be put into service by the end of 2021. The largest, a 300-MW power purchase agreement with 8minutenergy Renewables' Eagle Shadow Mountain Solar Farm, will have a flat price of $23.76 per MWh for 25 years, according to the utility's June 1 application to the PUC.