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Clean-Air Advocates Push Task Force on Early Closure of North Valmy

The governor's New Energy Industry Task Force will hear arguments from clean-air advocates today on closing the North Valmy power plant early.(xanderT/Morguefile)
The governor's New Energy Industry Task Force will hear arguments from clean-air advocates today on closing the North Valmy power plant early.(xanderT/Morguefile)
June 16, 2016

LAS VEGAS – NV Energy would save money by closing the North Valmy coal-fired power plant in 2019 rather than in 2025 as scheduled, according to clean-air advocates who will make their case today before the governor's New Energy Industry Task Force's committee on Clean Energy Sources.

The Sierra Club recently commissioned an economic analysis on the subject, which found that Valmy should be closed because importing coal is more expensive than relying on solar and natural gas.

Barbara Boyle, a senior campaign representative with the Sierra Club, says the Public Utilities Commission will also hear this issue in July.

"There's no real reason to keep the Valmy coal plant open any longer than absolutely necessary,” she states. “It's more expensive for ratepayers. It's the biggest single carbon emitter in Nevada, and it is an air polluter and doesn't help our economy."

Four years ago NV Energy proposed closing Unit 1 at Valmy in 2021, but the Nevada Public Utilities Commission set the date of 2025 to close Units 1 and 2, citing worries about system reliability and diversity of energy sources.

But the Sierra Club’s report calls those concerns red herrings and found that new transmission lines being built will ensure reliability, while the plunging cost of natural gas has made Valmy's energy expensive by comparison.

Boyle says Nevada has been down this road before.

"In 2013 we did a similar report on the Reid Gardner coal plant and showed that it was uneconomic and the decision was made to shut down that coal plant and replace it with clean renewable energy and some natural gas,” she relates. “We need to make a similar decision on Valmy."

The public is welcome to attend the meeting, which will be held via simulcast at the Public Utilities Commission buildings in Carson City and Las Vegas at 2 p.m.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV