CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Nevada Senate endorsed NV Energy Inc.'s plan Wednesday to retire coal-fired power plants and pave the way for the state's biggest electrical utility to transition to more renewable sources.
After several revisions, SB123 was approved unanimously and now moves to the Assembly.
Under the bill, NV Energy will eliminate at least 800 megawatts of coal-fired electric generating capacity by Dec. 31, 2019. It also provides for the construction or acquisition of 350 megawatts of generating capacity from renewable energy and another 550 megawatts of capacity from other electric generating plants such as natural gas.
One megawatt of power can supply about 600 homes during peak energy usage.
Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor and Energy Chairman Kelvin Atkinson, D-North Las Vegas, said the bill makes a "strong policy statement" and puts Nevada at the "forefront of energy policy in this country."
NV Energy has 10 power plants in Nevada, seven of which use natural gas.
Under the bill, NV Energy will close the Reid Gardner coal plant in southern Nevada by 2017. The company also plans to cease taking power from the Navajo plant in northern Arizona and close the Valmy coal-fired plant in northern Nevada by 2025.
While initial versions of the bill came under fire from consumer advocates and members of the Public Utilities Commission, the revised language had bipartisan support and alleviated earlier concerns.