The Raiders, a franchise that has called both Oakland and Los Angeles, California, home since the team began play in 1960, is moving to Las Vegas for the 2020 National Football League season. And this “new” team will take advantage of renewable resources to power both its new stadium, as well as its administrative offices and practice facility in nearby Henderson, Nevada.
Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in a 2-0 vote on Jan. 29 approved a 25-year deal between Allegiant Stadium, the Raiders’ new $1.9 billion, 1.75-million-square-foot home, and local utility NV Energy. Stadium construction is expected to be completed in July. Allegiant Travel Co., the Las Vegas-based parent of Allegiant Air, bought the naming rights for the stadium last year.
NV Energy has been working to retain customers, and forge new relationships, after at least 10 large business customers—including MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, Station Casinos, and others—left the utility over the past few years to buy power elsewhere. NV Energy now is offering some of its largest customers long-term deals with lower power prices.
Wednesday’s deal between the stadium and NV Energy comes a year after Allegiant officials received permission to explore using an outside energy supplier. This agreement with the stadium is the utility’s first to fall under a new tariff structure, and the deal requires LV Stadium Events—the subsidiary company created by the Raiders to oversee stadium project development and operations—to refrain from pursuing alternative energy providers for team’s facilities.
Renewables ‘In Public Interest’
The PUC in its filings Wednesday said the agreement is in the public interest because the stadium will receive electricity from renewable energy resources, including solar and wind. The agency also said the deal creates a “customer margin benefit,” an arrangement in which NV Energy would give 80% of its revenue to other bundled customers, while keeping 20%.
“[The] end result that is not only good for the Raiders, it will benefit all NV Energy customers and support the growth of the southern Nevada economy,” said NV Energy spokeswoman Jennifer Schuricht in a statement. Schuricht said the utility was pleased to have developed a “customized energy solution” for the Raiders that would see them served with the equivalent of full renewable power.
Stadium officials declined to comment on the deal.
The agreement calls for the stadium’s electric rates to reflect the market price of energy, broken into two supply periods. Initially, power for the stadium and team facilities will come from electricity bought by NV Energy on the wholesale market, or with excess capacity from NV Energy’s current fleet of power plants. The follow-on long-term period will bring power from renewable energy, along with associated energy storage facilities, beginning in the second half of 2023, when renewable energy facilities are expected to begin commercial operations.
‘Market Price Energy’ Tariff
The contract approved Wednesday ends several months of uncertainty regarding electricity for the stadium, and the Raiders’ offices and training facility. The team, represented by Baird Fogel of Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Curt Ledford of Davison Van Cleve PC, filed an application to leave NV Energy in September 2018 under a state law that allows large power users to exit the utility and purchase power from another electricity supplier, though companies that leave must pay a generally large “impact fee” to hold other utility customers harmless.
The 704B law, which is named for its place in state statutes, was used by the aforementioned businesses that already have departed NV Energy. The Raiders were awarded permission in January 2019 to contract with an electric supplier other than NV Energy, but the stadium group in May of last year asked for a delay in compliance requirements, suggesting a change of heart.
The team and NV Energy in October 2019 filed an application with the PUC for a contract and pricing system, a “Market Price Energy” tariff or MPE, that would enable the team to receive discounted electric rates for 25 years, based on power generation from future solar power plants and battery storage facilities. The contract also requires NV Energy to purchase and retire “Green-e Credits” in an amount that would offset the Raiders’ overall electric use. The Green-e program is an environmental standards service that verifies clean energy sales.
—Darrell Proctor is a POWER associate editor (@DarrellProctor1, @POWERmagazine).