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Showing posts with the label Reid Gardner

Demanding Sustainable Clean Energy in Nevada

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Industry leaders, government officials, and environmentalists gathered today in Las Vegas at the National Clean Energy Summit to discuss policy and business developments affecting the renewable energy industry.  The Sierra Club's national office used the occasion of the Clean Energy Summit to celebrate K Road's Moapa solar project, which will destroy three square miles of intact desert habitat located over thirty miles from the energy guzzling Las Vegas strip.   In a Facebook posting earlier this evening, the Sierra Club thanked its followers for supporting the "large solar farm" outside the city, featuring a photo of Sierra Club members rallying in front of the desert lands that are destined for the bulldozer.   The Sierra Club could have celebrated plans to close the dirty Reid Gardner coal plant, and the announcement of one of the largest rooftop solar projects in the world planned for a Las Vegas resort.
It is sad when a government official is quicker to promote s…

Nevada Legislature Passes SB 123

The Nevada legislature passed SB 123, which will ultimately shut down the Reid Gardner coal plant and provide relief for the Moapa Band of Paiutes living next to the facility.  The bill also likely locks Nevada into natural gas investments, however.  Although amended since the last time I reviewed the text, the bill that passed the legislature yesterday still requires 550 MW of energy from "other electrical generating plants," in addition to the 350 MW of new renewable energy generation required by the bill.   That 550 MW is likely to be generated by new natural gas facilities, and previous iterations of the bill made it clear that the "other electrical" generation would be natural gas.

It is not a surprise that this passed with bi-partisan support in Nevada given that this bill is a win-win situation for industry.  The bill provides Nevada utilities with a fresh excuse to invest in more infrastructure to support its central station model, including natural gas pi…

Nevada Embraces the Bridge, Not the Solution

The Nevada legislature introduced a bill (S.B. 123) that would drastically reduce the state's dependence on coal power plants, but introduce an equal amount of natural gas generation and additional transmission lines that will continue to wreck Nevada's wild landscapes.  The bill proposes to eliminate no less than 800 megawatts of coal-fired generation capacity, but requires utility companies to acquire or construct 700 to 800 megawatts of natural gas generation, in addition to 600 megawatts from renewable energy sources.  The bill does not contain specific provisions that would encourage distributed generation,  and offers only meager encouragement for utility companies to improve energy efficiency.

So not only will Nevada continue to draw a large portion of energy from fossil fuels, Nevada's most significant step into renewable energy is almost certain to be guided by utility companies that profit the most when they build destructive infrastructure on public lands, inste…

Nevada Considers Cleaner Future...Sort Of

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The Nevada State Legislature is considering a bill (Senate Bill 123) that would begin a modest distributed generation program (i.e. rooftop solar) in Nevada.  This would normally be very good news. Even despite the modest size of the distributed generation program, any rooftop solar benefits in Nevada is a major step forward.  Now the predominant state utility company in Nevada, NV Energy, plans to add an amendment to the bill that would (good news) retire coal plants early, and (bad news) increase natural gas generation.
The toxic Reid Gardner coal plant could be retired as early as 2017 if the plan is approved.  This would be very good news because the residents of Moapa are burdened by the emissions of this coal plant, which was built along the Muddy River in an otherwise scenic corner of the Mojave Desert northeast of Nevada.  But NV Energy also plans to increase natural gas generation facilities by as much as 2,000 megawatts, according to the Las Vegas Sun.  The utility company m…

EPA Proposes Significant Emission Controls at Navajo Coal Plant

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The EPA this week took a significant step toward reducing harmful emissions from the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), one of the largest coal power plants in the southwest, although the emission reductions will be delayed by a compromise between the EPA and the plant owners.  Located in Page, Arizona, the NGS ships its 2,250 megawatts of energy to multiple utility companies, and spews over 19 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.  The EPA's proposed rule specifically targets NGS' nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which adversely impact our respiratory health and deposit a smoggy haze in 11 National Parks and wilderness areas in the southwest, including Grand Canyon National Park.

The EPA's proposed rule would reduce NOx emissions from NGS by 84%, equal to 28,500 tons each year, but compromises with the plant owners by extending a 2018 deadline to install selective catalytic reduction (SCR) scrubber technology until the year 2023, according to an EPA press release.  SCR t…

Cost of Coal

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The Sierra Club launched its Cost of Coal campaign, taking a look at the toll of this fossil fuel on our communities and ecosystems.  One of the videos features Kami Miller, who lives in the northeastern Mojave Desert town of Moapa, Nevada in the shadow of the Reid Gardner Coal plant.  A study by the Sierra Club earlier this year found that energy efficiency investments by the utility company -- NV Energy -- would allow them to shut down all four coal burners at Reid Gardner, and save customers $59 million over 20 years.  Efficiency, distributed generation, and larger solar facilities on already-disturbed land can responsibly and sustainably break our addiction to coal.

Ask EPA to Hold Reid Gardner Coal to a Higher Standard

As I mentioned in my last post on this, the EPA decided that clean air and health in desert communities and wildlands is less important than the profit margin of the coal industry.  Instead of selecting the best available technology to reduce emissions from the Reid Gardner coal power plant northeast of Las Vegas, the EPA's proposed rule would let it use a less effective means primarily to reduce Reid Gardner's cost of compliance.

The EPA published the proposed rule in the Federal Register (here), which means you have until 14 May to submit your comments to Webb.Thomas@epa.gov.  Here are some points to use to craft your own comments:
The EPA should require Reid Gardner coal power plant to adopt the best available technology to reduce emissions, which in this case would be the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) technology. The EPA's proposed rule does not properly address the impacts of its decision on the health of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, who live next to the power plan…

EPA Gives Coal Plant a Pass

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Update: You can view the proposed rule here, and send comments by 14 May to
Webb.Thomas@epa.gov. You should indicate your support for the more effective "selective catalytic reduction" technology, which would help keep poisons out of the nearby community of Moapa and improve visibility in our wildlands.
The Reid Gardner coal power plant casts a shadow over the Moapa Band of Paiutes, along the Muddy River in the eastern Mojave Desert.  On an annual basis, the coal plant spews three million tons of CO2,  nearly four thousand pounds of nitrogen oxides and, 71 pounds of mercury (a miniscule fraction of which is considered deadly).  Reid Gardner is a dangerous neighbor to this small community northeast of Las Vegas.  The tribe is fighting vigorously to put an end to this toxic industry, but the EPA recently proposed a rule that would permit the plant to continue operating with only marginal reductions in pollutants.  According to the EPA ruling, the costs of the most effective emi…