NV Energy proposes to shut Nevada coal-fired power plants
By Scott DiSavino April 4 (Reuters) - Nevada power company NV Energy Inc proposed a plan to accelerate the retirement of its coal-fired generating facilities and the construction of natural gas and renewable power plants. NV Energy proposed its so-called "NVision" plan to reduce carbon and other emissions on Wednesday as an amendment to Nevada Senate Bill 123, which revises several of the state's renewable and other energy policies. This proposal by NV Energy is part of a growing trend with U.S. Western power companies to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions by shutting coal-fired power plants. Over the next 10 years, NV Energy proposed to accelerate the retirement of its 553-megawatt (MW) Reid Gardner coal plant in southern Nevada and end its interest in the 2,250-MW Navajo coal plant in north central Arizona. There are four units at Reid Gardner. The three 100-MW Units 1, 2 and 3 are currently scheduled to shut in 2020 and the 255-MW Unit 4 is expected to shut in 2023, according to NV Energy. Under the NVision plan, the company said it would shut Units 1-3 at Reid Gardner in 2014 and Unit 4 in 2017. The California Department of Water Resources (CDWR), which owns part of Unit 4 at Reid Gardner, said last year it planned to divest its interest in the unit later this year as part of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Salt River Project in Arizona operates the three 750-MW Units at the Navajo plant. NV Energy owns 11.3 percent. NV Energy said it was currently scheduled to get out of Navajo in 2026 but would accelerate that under the NVision plan to 2019. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), another partner in the Navajo plant with a 21.2 percent stake, last month said it too would exit the giant Arizona plant as part of its plan to stop burning coal. Other owners in Navajo include the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Pinnacle West Capital Corp's Arizona Public Service and UniSource Energy Corp's Tucson Electric. NV Energy said the NVision plan does not affect its current plans to retire the two units at the 522-MW Valmy coal plant in northern Nevada in 2021 and 2025. Valmy is a 50-50 partnership between NV Energy and Idaho Power, a unit of Idacorp Inc. NV Energy operates the Valmy plant. To replace the coal-fired generation, NV Energy proposed the development of 600 MW of new in-state renewable capacity by 2018 and the construction or acquisition of about 2,000 MW of natural gas-fired generation by 2025. NV Energy said the plan would create an estimated 4,700 construction jobs and provide as many as 200 jobs to operate and maintain the new facilities.