Earlier this week NV Energy proposed retiring the Reid Gardner coal plant on Feb. 28, 2017, nearly a year earlier than the Dec. 31, 2017 date it previously planned to close the plant on. The power from the plant will instead be generated with more solar power. The news was heralded by renewable energy advocates, among them local coalition RenewNV and the Sierra Club.
“This is good news for Nevada’s economy and its health,” agreed Andy Maggi, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League Education Fund, a member of RenewNV’s coalition. “This is a win for consumers, who will have access to low-cost renewable energy from the sun and the jobs new solar plants will create in our community as we stop relying on polluting fossil fuels imported from out-of-state. It’s a win for the Moapa Band of Paiutes, the community next door to the plant, where children and adults have suffered from exposure to the pollution coming from the coal plant. And it’s a win for the millions of visitors to national parks in Utah downwind of the plant.”
Indeed the Moapa Band of Paiutes have been advocating for the closure of coal-fired power plants for years. The plant began operating in 1965 and the tribe has suffered from chronic respiratory conditions because of its pollutions. The tribe also has been working to build solar projects on tribal lands.
“When NV Energy announced the Reid Gardner coal plant’s retirement in 2013, it boosted Nevada’s clean energy economy and empowered frontline communities,” said Elspeth DiMarzio, community organizer with the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “A proposal to retire the plant nearly a year early and add more solar power would build on this growth. We encourage NV Energy to continue to replace fossil fuel power and with Nevada’s endless clean energy resources.”
The utility will replace at least some of the demand from the soon-to-be-closed power plant with 100 megawatts of solar power at the Boulder City, NV, solar project. Advocates said the project can now produce electricity at about half the cost of coal plants in the state.
RenewNV said it will continue to push to close down Nevada’s other coal plant in Valmy. It also will advocate for more renewable energy, including rooftop solar. The Nevada Public Utilities Commission will make the final decision on the plant’s closure.Tweet