Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who opposes development of coal-fired power plants in Nevada, on Thursday welcomed the Sierra Pacific Resources announcement that it was delaying construction of a coal plant at Ely.
Sierra Pacific Resources, the parent of Nevada Power Co., on Wednesday said it was going to build a 500-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant 35 miles north of Las Vegas before it starts constructing the first coal-fired unit of the $3.8 billion Ely Energy Center in eastern Nevada and related transmission project. The company said the change in plans resulted from a delay in federal regulatory review.
“When the company’s representatives came to me this summer, saying they needed a ‘bridge’ to meet Nevada’s power needs while they look into renewable power, I suggested they use natural gas,” Reid said in a statement. “I am glad they are choosing to go in that direction. I hope that Sierra Pacific’s executives will take the additional time they now have to reexamine their plans to build a dirty coal plant.”
Instead, Reid urged Sierra Pacific instead to invest “in a renewable energy and energy efficiency plan that will protect our air and create thousands of Nevada jobs. “Sierra Pacific said it decided to build the gas-fired plant first because of regulatory delays. CEO Michael Yackira said the company said it remains committed to building the Ely plant.
Reid and environmental groups oppose coal-fired power plants because they are concerned that large quantities of carbon dioxide from coal plants would contribute to global warming.
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