Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) says he will soon sign a bill to accelerate construction of the $2-billion, 525-kV Greenlink transmission network to open access to remote renewable energy resource areas; the just-passed legislation also requires a $100-million investment in electric vehicle charging stations to help the state reach a 100% clean energy goal by 2050.

The 585-mile Greenlink Nevada project is set to connect Nevada's eastern, western and southern regions.

Under the legislation, which gained final state Assembly and Senate approval on May 31, Nevada's investor-owned utility NV Energy must amend its resource plan to include completion of both phases of the transmission project by no later than Dec. 31, 2028, about three years ahead of schedule.

“Clean energy is intrinsically linked to Nevada’s job recovery and economic opportunities,” the governor said.

The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada must now require every transmission provider in the state to join a regional transmission organization by Jan. 1, 2030.

“It is critical that Nevada move to incentivize and approve infrastructure projects like electric-vehicle charging infrastructure buildouts that will put our members back to work and infuse the economy with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment ... while simultaneously helping the state meet its renewable energy and carbon reduction goals,” officials from three state electrical worker union locals said in a statement.

Completing the Greenlink system will open the state to $10 billion in private investment in renewable energy, says state Sen. Chris Brooks, (D-Las Vegas), who sponsored the legislation.

The project also includes 555 miles of new 345-kV transmission.

The expansion will provide access to Nevada’s renewable energy zone, which contains about 5,000 MW of underdeveloped resources that could not be developed without added transmission infrastructure, NV Energy said. That includes geothermal and wind resources in northern Nevada and solar farms in southern Nevada. It also builds a foundation for the state to transfer energy between Nevada and the developing Western Grid.

The state has targeted clean energy to make up 21% of its power delivery this year, ratcheting up annually to 50% by 2030. The new law also requires utilities to find a path to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 80% by the end of the decade. 

By 2031, 1,000 MW of base load generation is planned for retirement in northern Nevada

Global Power on the Rise

Meanwhile, the International Energy Agency said June 2 that global investment in energy would rebound by about 10% in 2021 to $1.9 trillion, reversing most of last year’s drop caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but with more growth in electricity.

Power sector investment will exceed that in traditional oil and gas supply for the sixth straight year, said IEA’s World Energy Investment 2021 report. Global investment is set to rise by about 5% in 2021 to more than $820 billion, its highest ever level.

Renewables are set to make up 70% of the total this year.

“I’m encouraged to see more of it flowing towards renewables,” said Fatih Birol, IEA executive director. “But much greater resources have to be mobilized and directed to clean energy technologies to put the world on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Based on our new Net Zero Roadmap, clean energy investment will need to triple by 2030.”

Upstream oil and gas investment is expected to rise by about 10% in 2021 but remains well below pre-pandemic levels, with corporate producers generally holding spending flat in 2021, despite recovering prices.

IEA says project tracking to date in 2021 suggests clean energy spending could rise to 4% this year for the industry as a whole, exceeding 10% for some leading European developers.