Report Finds Closing Reid Gardner Coal Plant Would Save Money
Posting Date: 06/18/2012
Increased energy efficiency measures by NV Energy are key
A report released June 14 by the Sierra Club reveals that it would be significantly cheaper for NV Energy ratepayers if the utility moves quickly to retire its nearly 50-year-old Reid Gardner coal-fired power plant than if the company prolongs its operation.
An independent economic analysis of NV Energy data found that retiring Reid Gardner by 2013 would save $59 million over continuing to run the plant until 2023 -- and that bill-payers could have seen savings of $121 million if the company had acted sooner to retire the coal plant.
“We’ve long known that Reid Gardner is old, inefficient, and expensive to maintain,” said Timothy Hay, a former Nevada Public Utility Commissioner and former Nevada Consumer Advocate. “Now we have solid evidence that ratepayerscould save a lot of money with retirement of the coal plant and more energy efficiency. The sooner it happens, the more beneficial to residents and businesses.”
There is plenty of surplus power generation capacity available on the grid to replace Reid Gardner’s 557 megawatts if it were retired. However, the report released on Thursday found that replacing Reid Gardner generation with increased energy efficiency will be more cost effective than buying power on the wholesale market. Retiring Reid Gardner will also avoid major spending on pollution control upgrades the plant needs.
“We have thousands of homes in Southern Nevada that could reduce their energy consumption and energy bills,” said Mary Venable, president of Efficiency First Nevada, the professional organization for the
home performance industry. “This work can create ongoing jobs in our struggling construction industry, jobs that can’t be outsourced. We have a skilled and motivated workforce ready to go.”
Summarized in a “Special Report for Nevada Ratepayers,” the full independent study by energy analysts at Resource Insight, Inc. on behalf of Sierra Club is being submitted by Sierra Club to the PUCN as part of the commission’s ongoing investigation of the Reid Gardner plant. The analysis is based on NV Energy filings to the PUCN in late March.
“All eyes now are on our public utility commissioners and NV Energy,” said Jane Feldman with the Southern Nevada Group of Sierra Club. “Nevadans already pay some of the highest electricity rates in the region, and times are difficult for many families. Retiring Reid Gardner and stepping up efficiency is a way to help us all save money, create jobs, and protect public health and water.”
In addition to the $59 million saved, another benefit of retiring Reid Gardner rather than extending its operating life includes avoiding the continued use of 8,300 acre-feet (2.7 billion gallons) of fresh water the plant draws from the Muddy River each year for its operations, according to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.
Reid Gardner retirement would also save millions in public health costs that result from asthma attacks and other ailments triggered by the plant’s smokestack emissions, and curtail coal ash waste landfill operations that produce millions of gallons a year of contamination that enters groundwater near the Muddy River.
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 Yeah, a report from the Sierra Club isn't going to have any bias at all, is it?
Just goes to show how simplistic and ignorant this group truly is. Want to save money? Shut down the plant! Wow, and they needed a study for that?
Let's not stop there...We can save trillions of dollars if we just shut down the U.S. government. (It's not doing anything anyway, so why not?) Want to save money on shopping? Shut down all the stores! Want to reduce fuel costs? Shut down the refineries and gas stations! We need environmental groups to maintain balance against the corporate robber barons who would lay waste to the entire planet if unchecked. But the Sierra Club's penchant for lying and misinformation leaves them completely without credibility. Here's a thought: to help all the "club members" save money on dues, let's shut down the Sierra Club! Works for me. By: Devon
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 When it is clear this plant is causing horrible health problems to local residents, this is a no brainer. Close it. Have some respect. By: Sandi
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 The independant report was done by Research Insights, not the Sierra Club - the SC just paid for it. If you take a few minutes to review the invredible credentials of Research Insights and the multiple decades of their history of analyzing utilities for competitors, governments around the world, Public Utilities Commissions in dozens of states, etc then you can make a legitimate determination about it's credibility. Devon, I know how you hate having intellugent, educated and experienced people rendering opinions, but I'll ask again - who do yuou want evaluating these complex issues - uneducated idiots? Please provide som factual and validated instances of the Sierra Club lying and providing misinformation. By: John
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 I agree with devon. it'll save money just like closing off accesss to Gold Butte will bring more visitors!
Oh yeah, don't forget global warming! Science made to order. For enough money, I can get a study that says gravity is a myth! By: Leo Black
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 Yes, Leo, and you'll believe it without question if the "right" groups and news station tells you to. BTW - HUGE sections of Zions, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, etc are managed as wilderness areas and they seem to attract visitors just fine! They just restrict uses that will harm them for future generations. Seems like a good (and proven successful) program to me. And you don't believe in science? HMMMM - says a lot. By: justsayin2
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 I would guess that if a former NV PUC commissioner says it is old and expensive to maintain then that is significant. Moreover, if it is causing public health issues to the people of Moapa and that area, shutting it down is probably a wise move before millions must be paid out to injured residents. By: Marty
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 I would think that a doctor looking at all the health problems in the plant area would consider that more believable evidence than a statement from the Sierra Club. When people are actually getting sick, that is pretty powerful evidence. By: Frank
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 1. Why would a private company continue operating a plant that does not generat profit? Probably tax benefits.
2. Where is all this excess energy that is cheaply available and how long will it remain inexpensive or is this money going to be saved by me turning off my A/C?
3. How many of the 150 private sector/tax PAYING jobs
will be lost by closing the plant? Maybe the NON-Profit "special interest" Sierra clubbers can hire them as consultants...
A different perspective is availble at:
All reports are not necessarily unbiased, regardless of who pays for the report -It is we the RATEPAYERS who ultimately PAY & PAY. So please think before reacting. By: Carlos
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 Even doctors will forsake sick people in pursuit of the almighty dollar. They have no conscience when it comes to money. Look at what Romney is trying to do. By: Larry
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 Carlos, you're right, all reports are not necessarily unbiased. However, the report correctly states "significantly cheaper for NV Energy ratepayers". Of course NVEnergy makes a profit operating the plant, but the resultant cost of power to ratepayers is the issue here because of inefficient power generation . Remember, these utilities operate as monopolies - thus they are guaranteed a profit because the system allows for them to mark up the costs of producing electricity to make a profit - so they make a profit and the ratepayers pay for their costs of production, no matter how efficient or inefficient it is. Newer generating technologies (solar, wind, geothermal, natural gas) are more efficient, but cost additional capital up front to build. Remember, this is NOT a FREE MARKET where NVEnergy has to compete against more efficient providers - you can't buy your power from Pacificorp, PG&E or others. The only way to get cleaner and more efficient energy is for our regulators (and us citizens) to demand that they close their inefficient plants and modernize them for greater efficiency. Renewable sources cost more capital up front - but eventually the cost of fuel for these plants (=$0) makes them more efficient. and we all benefit. Put those experienced energy workers to work building and operating more efficient plants! In the end, GREATER EFFICIENCY will benefit us all. By: Justsayin2
Posted Date: 06/18/2012 Anyone who thinks coal isn't filthy and is technology was past its prime is fooling themselves. By: Harold