Monday, Aug. 15, 2016 | 5:57 p.m.
NV Energy asked regulators Monday for permission to retire a utility-owned coal plant 10 months earlier than expected as part of an effort to move toward a cleaner fuel portfolio.
The utility shut down three of four generating units at its 257-megawatt Reid Gardner Generating Station in Moapa at the end of 2014. If regulators at the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada approve its request, it will shut down the final Reid Gardner unit Feb. 28. NV Energy had originally planned to fully shut down the coal-fired plant in December 2017.
NV Energy said it filed the request with the commission Monday.
In recent years, NV Energy has been weaning itself off coal, turning instead to fuel from natural gas and large-scale solar projects, both resources that have become increasingly affordable options. NV Energy has an 11.3 percent stake in an Arizona-based coal-fired power plant but plans to end its participation with the Navajo Generating Station by 2019.
NV Energy and Idaho Power also jointly own a coal-fueled plant in Northern Nevada. The utility had said in the past that it plans to retire that facility — the North Valmy Generating Station — by 2025, though some clean energy advocates are pushing to move up that date.
In the filing, NV Energy said it asked state utility regulators to approve a new renewable energy project. The utility’s media release said the company signed a 25-year supply contract with Techren Solar LLC, which plans to build a 100-megawatt project in Boulder City. If approved by regulators, it is expected to be online by the end of 2018.
Kevin Geraghty, NV Energy’s senior vice president of energy supply, called the deal with Techren Solar “one of the lowest-cost solar projects in the nation.” He added: “We are very pleased with the fact that Techren has already signed a work-site agreement with local unions 357 and 396 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.”