How a Major Resort Owner Manages Its Power [PODCAST]

MGM Resorts International took a bold step in 2016 when it ended its energy-buying relationship with NV Energy and instead chose to purchase electricity from private providers. The company’s decision was driven by a desire to slash bills and boost renewables.

Henry Shields, executive director of finance and analysis in the Corporate Sustainability division of MGM Resorts International, was a guest on The POWER Podcast. Shields will be a keynote presenter at the ELECTRIC POWER Conference and Exhibition, which will be held at The Mirage Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 23–26, 2019. On the podcast, Shields explained how the changes were implemented.

Nevada’s not a deregulated state in the purest sense,” Shields said. “However, there’s been a law in Nevada on a very limited path for certain sophisticated commercial customers to do what we did.”

“What we did was separate from the utility in terms of the actual procurement of electricity so that we were able to source our power from the wider market. We do remain actively—and will so in the future—very much a customer of NV Energy, but now for local lines and wires, and transmission service only,” Shields said.

Concerning renewable energy, MGM Resorts International has really embraced solar power. Even before it broke away from NV Energy, MGM installed more than 26,000 photovoltaic panels on its Mandalay Bay Convention Center—about 28 acres of rooftop area. Furthermore, in April 2018, the company announced it was partnering with Chicago-based Invenergy, North America’s largest independent renewable energy company, to construct a solar project about 25 miles north of Las Vegas. At full production, the 100-MW solar array is expected to provide up to 90% of the total daytime power needs for MGM Resorts’ 13 Las Vegas Strip locations. Shields said the project would go a long way toward meeting the company’s published goal of reducing its carbon intensity by 50% by 2030.

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Aaron Larson is POWER’s executive editor (@AaronL_Power, @POWERmagazine).