As Nevada's dominant electric utility, NV Energy (formerly Sierra Pacific Resources) keeps casinos powered 24 hours a day. Subsidiaries Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power (which do business under the NV Energy brand) provide electricity to about 1.2 million customers and natural gas to 152,000 customers in Nevada. They also serve an annual tourist population of 40 million. The utilities generate more than 6,000 MW of fossil-fueled net capacity and sell power to wholesale customers in the western US. NV Energy also owns Sierra Pacific Communications, a fiber-optic telecommunications service, and Lands of Sierra, a real estate unit. Neither contribute materially to NV Energy's bottom line.
Major industries and clients served by the NV Energy's utilities include gaming/recreation, mining, warehousing/manufacturing and governmental organizations.
Subsidiaries Sierra Pacific Power and Nevada Power distribute electric power in Nevada. Sierra Pacific Power also distributes natural gas. Of NV Energy's 1.2 million electric customers in 2011, 840,000 electric customers were primarily located in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson and adjoining areas and 323,000 electric customers were located in a 50,000 sq. ml. area of western, central and northeastern Nevada, including the cities of Reno, Sparks, Carson City, and Elko. It also had 152,000 natural gas customers in the Reno/Sparks area.
The company reported a 10% decline in revenues in 2011 primarily due to the sale of its Californian electric distribution assets. As part of NV Energy's decision to focus on energy projects within Nevada, in early 2011 the company sold its electric distribution (about 46,000 customers) and generation assets in the Lake Tahoe area to California Pacific Electric, for $131.8 million. California Pacific Electric is jointly owned by Algonquin Power and Emera. Its net income decreased by 20% primarily due to the lower revenues and an increase in costs related to the completion of the expansion of the Harry Allen Generating Station in May 2011. The additional 500 MW of power generation at the Harry Allen plant is part of NV Energy's plans to boost its capacity to keep up with growing demand.
A part of this push, the company has expressed an interest in building an additional coal-fired unit at Valmy, where it co-owns a plant with Idaho Power. However, any such development is several years away.
NV Energy is also engaged in pursuing green energy in order to meet stricter environmental regulations regarding carbon emissions (Nevada requires utilities to produce 20% of its power form renewable sources by 2020). Nevada Power investing $112 million for renewable energy projects in 2011. NV Energy is also seeking federal funds to support its investments in clean energy activities.
Sierra Pacific Resources changed the business name of its utility holding company to NV Energy (in 2008) to better reflect its Nevada energy priorities.