Reid applauds NV Energy for shelving Ely coal plant

NV Energy on Monday announced that it is postponing development of a $5 billion coal-fired power plant at Ely until technology for capturing and storing carbon dioxide pollution becomes commercially feasible, probably for 10 years or more.

The decision ends a three-year battle with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and environmental groups, which complained the coal plant would throw off massive quantities of carbon dioxide leading to global warming.

Reid, D-Nev., and environmental groups welcomed the announcement.

“I applaud NV Energy’s decision to speed up the development of an important transmission line and to postpone construction of its Ely Energy Center coal plant,” Reid said in a statement.

“We’ve got the federal government, the state and the largest utility planning all in the same line, which is good for consistent economic development for the state,” said Tim Hay, a consultant to the National Resource Defense Council and former state consumer advocate.

“I want to congratulate NV Energy for this decision that is good for the environment, good for ratepayers and good for the state economy,” said Charles Benjamin of Nevadans for Clean Affordable Reliable Energy.

Amy Atwood, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an e-mail that NV Energy seems to recognize that coal power is outdated and new sources of energy are needed. “NV Energy’s announcement seems to reflect that this is now as stark a business reality as a scientific one.”

Daniel Burns, a spokesman for Gov. Jim Gibbons, didn’t return calls for comment.

The decision was not as welcome in White Pine County, where the plant would be built.

“Of course, we’re very disappointed that they are postponing it,” said Karen Rajala, White Pine County coordinator of community and economic development.

The area’s economy is based on operations at the Robinson Copper Mine seven miles west of Ely, and the mine has been reducing jobs as the price of copper declined, she said.

The Ely center was expected to create 1,600 jobs during construction with 200 permanent jobs when the power plant was finished, she said. She took some consolation that the electric company is continuing to seek approval for use of federal land and for an air permit for the plant.

The decision to shelve the project will not affect rates for electric power users short-term, because none of the development costs were included in the pending general rate case, said Chief Executive Officer Michael Yackira.

Long-term, the company decided that delaying the 1,500-megawatt Ely Energy Center is the best way to hold down electric utility rates, he said.

The Public Utilities Commission authorized NV Energy to spend up to $135 million developing the Ely center so far, but Yackira declined to say how much the company has spent. NV Energy has not decided whether it will ask the commission to raise its rates later to compensate it for past expenses on the project, he said.

The utility company said it postponed the project because construction costs are escalating and the costs of complying with expected federal carbon emission regulations remain unknown, Yackira said.

The utility company in 2006 estimated the project, including a transmission line, would cost $3.8 billion, although its estimated cost has since increased to $5 billion.

The company also wants to protect the environment, Yackira said. Scientists say that carbon dioxide leads to global warming, and coal-fired plants throw off twice the amount of carbon dioxide per unit of power that is emitted by plants burning natural gas.

The CEO expects climate change legislation to reach the Senate floor as soon as Memorial Day. Electric utilities increasingly are backing away from coal projects because of uncertainty over the cost of complying with climate change legislation.

Arizona Public Service filed a comprehensive resource plan on Jan. 30 that rejected building new coal-fired power plants.

Instead of developing the Ely coal plant, NV Energy will invest in renewable power projects, energy efficiency programs and power plants that burn natural gas, Yackira said.

Continuing to rely on natural gas means that the customers will see their rates jump and fall when gas prices change, he said. The price of natural gas was running $13 per 1,000 cubic feet in early July but fell to $4.85 early this month, according to WTRG Economics.

“Natural gas even with its volatility costs less than building a coal plant,” Yackira said.

LS Power and Sithe Global Power, two independent power producers, continue to pursue plans for coal-fired power plants in Nevada, but Yackira predicted they wouldn’t be able to build a coal plant any faster than NV Energy.

NV Energy said it will continue developing a 250-mile transmission line planned as part of the project for an undisclosed cost. It expects to complete the line by 2012.

The power line could give Southern Nevada access to geothermal power in Northern Nevada and enable the company’s utilities in Las Vegas and Reno to share power plants, Yackira said.

“Their decision on the coal plant seems to make good sense given the current environment,” said state consumer advocate Eric Witkoski. “But it still remains open for study whether this transmission line is the best way to link the two utilities.”

Contact reporter John G. Edwards at or 702-383-0420.

Vegas Homeless Remembered
Las Vegas vigil remembers 179 homeless people who died over the past year in Clark County. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A look inside Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory east of Reno produces the batteries that fuel the company's electric cars. Production has created more than 7,000 jobs, and the campus that includes one of the largest buildings in the world is expected to triple in size by the time it is completed. Tesla Vice President Chris Lister leads a tour of the facility. (Bill Dentzer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garnet Interchange Ribbon Cutting
The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the $63 million I-15-US 93 Garnet Interchange project. The project includes a modified diverging diamond interchange and a 5-mile widening of US 93.
State Foresters Hunt for Record Trees
Urban foresters from the Nevada Division of Forestry hunt for record setting trees.
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like