City of Reno: Renewable energy

Project Title

Best Practices: Municipal Renewable Energy Portfolio

Research Question

More local governments are adopting climate action plans that include commitments to renewable energy procurement. The mix is often inclusive of utility programs, community solar, purchase of renewable energy credits (RECs or PECs), site specific distributed generation, hydroelectric (where available), as well as other methods. The City of Reno would like to understand each of these in more detail, how much of a portfolio they cover, benefits and barriers, and best practices in cities of similar size and demographics.


The City of Reno would like to 50% of its electric use to be from renewable energy by 2020 and 100% by 2025. This is pending approval of the Sustainability & Climate Action Plan on July 31, 2019. NV Energy has a program called the Green Rate Rider program wherein a retail customer can purchase from a renewable resource. However, this program has its limitations and is an added cost to the City of Reno. The City is currently also looking into site specific distributed generation systems which also has its limitations. The City would like to understand the best path forward to reach its goals, or begin to work toward the goals based on best practices, trends, and an analysis of the benefits and barriers of the options listed in the Problem Statement.


At the end of the project, the student will have answered the questions posed in the Problem Statement and deliver a report and presentation on the findings. If policy changes are recommended, that should be noted in the report. Proper citations are required. The student may use the report for their portfolio and social media. The report will be used in city policy decisions, media, grant applications, and other publications. This project may include two students or take place over multiple award sessions.

Suggested Skills

Field of Study (Major or Minor): Engineering, Renewable Energy, Environmental Science. General Experience: Writing, utility or engineering internships, research, communications, policy, environmental issues will be helpful.

Agency Representative

Suzanne Linfante
(775) 334-2067