LAS VEGAS – Sierra Club, RenewNV, energy consumers and clean air advocates applauded yesterday’s release of NV Energy’s proposal to retire the Reid Gardner coal plant nearly one year early — moving closure from Dec. 31, 2017, to Feb. 28, 2017. If approved by state regulators, NV Energy would replace some of the energy with 100-megawatts of solar power from Boulder City, Nevada — enough to power nearly 164,000 homes.
“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.”
“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.”
Maggi praised the long-time work of the Sierra Club and others to clean up the Reid-Gardner coal plant, which opened in 1965 and has affected the health of generations of the Moapa Band of Paiutes.
Large-scale solar projects, such as the planned Boulder City project, can produce energy at about half the cost of traditional coal plants, and they do it without producing air pollution.
RenewNV, launched this month by conservation, business, and social-justice organizations working to educate Nevadans about the economic and environmental benefits of clean energy, noted that there is still much more that can be done by Nevada’s energy utility and state regulators to shut down Nevada’s other coal plant, in Valmy, and develop clean, renewable energy, including rooftop solar.
“This shows that public awareness and public concern can be effective in bringing common-sense clean energy to Nevada,” said Maggi, a former director of the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club.