Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008 | 4:35 p.m.
A large, coal-fired power plant proposed in Eastern Nevada is the key to keeping prices low and supply reliable in Southern Nevada. This according to power company bigwig Michael Yackira, who went to the stump again at this morning's Nevada Development Authority breakfast.
The Sierra Pacific Resources president and CEO said 1,000 megawatts of new demand from Strip developments coming online in the next five years – equivalent to about 750,000 average single-family homes – will contribute to the need for more power plants in Nevada.
Sierra Pacific Resources owns Nevada Power Co. in the south and Sierra Pacific Power Co. in the north.
Yackira also talked up the company's commitment to renewable energy and efficiency programs, but emphasized how important the $3.8 billion Ely Energy Center would be to keeping the lights on in Vegas.
He said volatile natural gas prices make buying power on the wholesale market a gamble, while owning plants that burn cheap, domestic coal keep prices down.
Environmentalists, however, have said the plants will spew global warming-causing greenhouse gases for 50 years and will cost consumers a bundle once Congress enacts climate change legislation.