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Switch applies for wholesale electricity for Northern Nevada project

CARSON CITY — The data storage company Switch has filed what is commonly called an “exit” application with state regulators so it can obtain wholesale electricity for its Northern Nevada Tahoe-Reno SUPERNAP project.

The filing with the Public Utilities Commission was made Friday .

The company said it is seeking “open market access” for its northern Nevada operation so it can obtain “innovative and competitively priced renewable energy technologies.”

The company is building its patented SUPERNAP data center at the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center east of Reno.

While historically such filings have been called “exit applications,” Switch said in its filing that the term is inappropriate.

The application says the Tahoe-Reno SUPERNAP project has never been a permanent, fully bundled retail customer in NV Energy’s northern service territory, served by Sierra Pacific Power Company.

“As a result, the concept of an ‘exit’ or ‘exit fee’ is wholly inappropriate” in the proceedings,” the company said.

The proposal will benefit all ratepayers because the company will help pay for the transmission and distribution system in place through NV Energy while promoting a cleaner, renewable energy mix for the state while adding jobs, the company said.

Switch applied to “exit” from NV Energy for all its facilities in 2014. An exit fee of $27 million was proposed by PUC staff, but the commission denied the request in 2015.

Switch earlier this year filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the PUC commissioners and NV Energy over the denial of its 2014 exit application. The original lawsuit sought $31 million in damages. It was refiled last month.

The company’s Northern Nevada data center is expected to cost $3 billion when fully built out and will house seven buildings totaling 6.49 million square feet. The project broke ground in September 2015.

Contact Sean Whaley at swhaley@reviewjournal.com or 775-461-3820. Follow @seanw801 on Twitter.

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