NV Energy Plans to Keep Valmy Coal Plant Running Despite Finding Cost Savings with Solar Power


Thomas Young, thomas.young@sierraclub.org, Sierra Club Deputy Press Secretary

Zack Waterman, zack.waterman@sierraclub.org, Sierra Club Idaho Chapter

NEVADA -- After conducting an economic analysis of their last coal plant in Nevada, NV energy found they can save money by replacing the plant with solar generation. However, they have decided to continue operating both units at the expensive, polluting coal plant as a seasonal resource through 2025.

The North Valmy Generating Station is the last remaining utility-owned coal plant in Nevada after the Reid Gardner plant closed in March of 2017. In May of 2017, Valmy’s co-owner, Idaho Power, announced their plans to close Unit 1 in 2019 and Unit 2 in 2025, several years ahead of their previous schedule. NV Energy’s latest Life Span Analysis Process (LSAP) found the least cost option is to do the same, but they still intend to keep both units operating to meet peak energy demand in the summer while remaining idle most of the year.

Sierra Club analysis found that operating both of Valmy’s coal units through 2025 would cost utility customers $30 million more than cleaner alternatives on the market.

Sierra Club’s Campaign Representative in Nevada, Elspeth DiMarzio, issued the following statement:

"NV Energy just found they can save money by quickly shutting down the old Valmy coal plant and replacing it with solar power, but they’re not doing that. This should be an easy decision. It is hard to take NV Energy's rhetoric about clean energy seriously when they remain committed to an expensive old coal plant that continues polluting our beautiful state. Now is the time when NV Energy should be accelerating the construction of new clean energy projects, creating jobs, and securing low electricity rates for Nevadans, but instead they’re choosing to keep relying on an old, expensive, polluting coal plant.”

The Director of Sierra Club’s Idaho Chapter, Zack Waterman, issued the following statement:

"NV Energy’s latest analysis reaffirms that Idaho Power made the right decision for electricity customers and the environment by announcing an early exit from the Valmy coal plant. It's baffling that NV Energy is ignoring their own analysis and keeping this expensive, dirty coal plant running, especially when customers are demanding low cost, clean energy."

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3 million members and supporters. In addition to helping people from all backgrounds explore nature and our outdoor heritage, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.