Sierra Pacific vows to expand energy-conservation programs |

Sierra Pacific vows to expand energy-conservation programs

NNBW staff

Before Sierra Pacific Resources pledged a few days ago to spend $135 million in the next three years to improve energy efficiency, its executives had decided to expand on programs that already are working well.

The pledge by the Reno-based utility company came during the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative. It joined with seven other utilities that together pledged to spend an additional $500 million a year on energy efficiency.

The Sierra Pacific Resources plan, which still awaits approval of the Public Utilities of Commission of Nevada, includes:

* Doubling the investment by Sierra Pacific Power in “Energy Star” products for northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe markets.

* Tripling the amount it spends to recycle old refrigerators.

* Doubling the money it spends on the “Sure Bet” program that pays businesses to install energy-efficient lighting, signage and equipment.

* Introducing a program, already adopted by Nevada Power in the Las Vegas area, to encourage the mobile home industry to develop and sell energy-efficient homes.

* Introducing another program, also under way in the Las Vegas area, to boost energy efficiency among motels and hotels.

“We want to put more resources toward proven winners,” said Greg Kern, director of energy efficiency and conservation programs for the utility.

A new program proposed by Sierra Pacific, he said, would seek to improve the operating efficiency of the power sources for computers. The utility would work with manufacturers and retailers on that project, Kern said.

The utility also plans a trial run of an effort to provide homeowners with systems that display their home energy use on a minute-by-minute basis. Sierra Pacific is interested, Kern said, if that kind of knowledge encourages energy conservation.

With the PUC approval, the expanded program would invest $10 million a year in northern Nevada, double the current spending on energy efficiency programs.

The plan would run in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

The total commitment made by the eight-utility group that includes Sierra Pacific Resources would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by about 30 million tons, said The Clinton Global Initiative. That’s the equivalent of removing nearly 6 million cars from the road.

The utilities’ steps also would remove the need for 50, 500-megawatt power plants to meet peak demands.


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