Coal Plant Opposition Mounts in
Aug 8, 2007 - Powernews
Opposition in Nevada is rapidly building against
plans for three new coal-fired plants in the state.
Most telling for the opponents of the projects is
the opposition of the state's most important political
leader, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, the Senate majority
In a letter to officials in the state late last
month, Reid said, Nevada should be a national leader
in renewable energy and energy independence. Building
another inefficient and polluting coal plant in
the heart of our state would be a gigantic step
away from that goal. Reid suggested adoption of
the Nevada Energy Independence Plan, developed in
2006 by then state consumer advocate Jon Wellinghof,
pushing renewables, energy efficiency, and demand-side
measures. Wellinghof is now a commissioner at the
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Reid advanced
Seven environmental groups last week asked the State
Environmental Commission to put the coal plans on
hold until the state agency can issue standards
for carbon dioxide emissions. The state should require
that any new power plants in Nevada be built in
a way that helps protect the climate and doesn't
make our lives worse, said the filing, led by the
Nevada Conservation League. The groups are calling
for a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2/MWh of generation,
saying that the current rate is about 3,000 pounds.
Nevada-based utility holding company Sierra Pacific
Resources and New Jersey non-utility generator LS
Power want to build new coal plants near Ely, Nev.
Sithe Global Power, an independent based in New
York, wants to build a plant in Lincoln County.
The Sierra Pacific project would be a 1,500 MW plant,
while LS Power's would be 1,600 MW. Sithe's plant
capacity would be 750 MW.
Despite Reid's opposition, there is significant
political support in Nevada for the coal plants.
Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons isn't joining the blacken
coal bandwagon. Gibbons told the Associated Press
that new coal technology minimizes the production
of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions. I'm
anxious to see the alternatives proposed by Sen.
Reid for the coal plants. I've been proposing all
along that we look at developing geothermal, solar
and wind energy.