NV Energy retires three of four coal units at Reid Gardner plant

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Dec. 31 issued a statement celebrating NV Energy‘s recent permanent closure of three of four coal units at the Reid Gardner coal plant.

“The future of energy in Nevada lies with our ability to develop our solar, wind and geothermal resources and rid ourselves of our dependence on dirty fossil fuels,” said Reid, a staunch critic of the plant for several years. “The Reid Gardner plant became operational during the Johnson Administration and its closure is a significant step toward Nevada taking control of its energy future, creating an environment for developing new clean renewable energy, while creating jobs for Nevadans that cannot be outsourced.

“For years the Moapa Band of Paiutes endured the consequences of breathing dangerous pollution from the Reid Gardner coal plant, and I am pleased that Nevadans and its leaders united to stand up for the Moapa Band and create new opportunities for the tribe,” Reid added. “To truly recognize Nevada’s energy potential we must replace Reid Gardner with clean energy that will protect the air we breathe and drive our economy forward.”

The Reid Gardner Generating Station has four units. The first two nearly identical units went into service in 1965 and 1968. A third similar unit was added in 1976. Those are the three that have been shut. Each unit produced 100 MW with Foster Wheeler boilers and GE turbine-generators. The plant’s largest generating unit is a 257-MW Unit 4 that was commissioned in 1983 and uses a Foster Wheeler boiler to drive a Westinghouse turbine generator. Coal for the plant is shipped in via railroad from mines in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

In 2013, the Nevada Legislature passed Senate Bill 123, which requires the early retirement of 800 MW of coal-fired generation in Southern Nevada in the years 2014, 2017 and 2019. Unit 4 at Reid Gardner is due for shutdown in 2017 under this mandate.

In a Dec. 22 filing with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission, NV Energy acknowledged a Dec. 18 commission order in an emissions reduction case and committed, under that order, to:

  • Shut Reid Gardner Units 1-3 by the end of 2014 and Reid Gardner Unit 4 by the end of 2017;
  • Acquire the gas-fired Las Vegas Cogeneration Unit 1 (50 MW) and Unit 2 (224 MW) by the end of 2014;
  • Acquire the gas-fired SunPeak generating facility (222 MW) by the end of 2014;
  • Construct the 15-MW Nellis Solar Array II project;
  • Permit property next to the Harry Allen power plant for renewable energy development;
  • Eliminate its 255-MW ownership stake in the coal-fired Navajo power plant in Arizona by the end of 2019; and
  • Install the Harry Allen Transformer.

The retirement of the four units at Reid Gardner and elimination of the Navajo power plant stake amounts to 812 MW, meeting the 800-MW coal elimination goal in the state legislation.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.