NV Energy shutters final unit at Reid Gardner coal plant

Dive Brief:

  • NV Energy has pulled the plug on its Reid Gardner plant entirely, shutting down the largest and last of the station's generators (257 MW) and completing the closure nine months ahead of schedule.
  • The facility, near Moapa, Nev., began operating in 1965. Lawmakers in 2013 passed a bill calling for elimination of 800 MW of coal-fired generation.
  • NV Energy shuttered three coal units totaling 300 MW in 2015 and plans to eliminate its generation from the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station by December 2019.

Dive Insight:

After more than a half century, NV Energy's Reid Gardner plant will no longer provide energy to the southern Nevada electric grid. It is the latest step in a five-year plan to reduce the amount of coal on the utility's system. The closure comes as part of a 2013 agreement between NV Energy and other stakeholders that resulted in legislation calling for 812 MW of coal capacity to be replaced by renewable energy and natural gas generation. 

Starla Lacy, vice president of environmental services for NV Energy, said the renewable energy capacity the company secured for customers "has seven times the capacity of the generating unit that was taken off the grid today.”

NV Energy's plan to shutter the coal plant is part of a bigger push to phase out coal-fired generation in its portfolio. The Reid Gardner plant's economic struggles illustrate the broader trend in the power sector as utilities turn away from coal in favor of cleaner energy like natural gas and renewable energy. 

The utility has reduced emissions more than 40% from 2005 to 2015 and now has 1,900 MW of renewable resources in Nevada. Those include 19 geothermal energy resources, 14 solar energy facilities, six hydro plants, one large wind farm and a variety of biomass, methane and other renewable energy projects. 

In addition, NV Energy agreed to pay more than $4 million to the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians related to the cleanup and health impacts from the coal plant. 

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Filed Under: Generation
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