Edison replies to Reid

By Jim Maniaci, Mohave Daily News, DECEMBER 20, 2007

LAUGHLIN - Southern California Edison has issued its replies to the latest attack by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., against restarting the mothballed coal-fired electric generating station in the middle of Laughlin.

In a Dec. 17 letter to SCE President John R. Fielder, Reid reminded him of his Dec. 14, 2005, letter in which he wrote “... the approximately $40 million in proceeds from the sale of MGS's 50,000 tons of sulfur dioxide allowances should be invested in renewable electricity generation at the site, and possibly other nearby areas.”

In his 2007 letter, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader also encouraged the Los Angeles area private utility “to cooperate with the Navajo and Hopi Tribes, local government, other stakeholders, and potential retailers or purchasers of clean power from MGS to turn the plant's closure into a win-win-win situation for all parties. MGS's transmission assets, the intense solar resource, and the human capital of the surrounding communities are extremely valuable and should not be left untapped.”

Reid offered his assistance and suggested several financial incentives “... for renewable energy projects could help make this transition cost effective.”

In response, SCE press officer Gil Alexander flatly denied the company had sold any of the sulfur dioxide credits. He also said the company has not evaluated the financial programs mentioned by Reid, nor has it conducted a study of what it would take to make a solar-powered conversion financially feasible.

On Dec. 19, Alexander denied Reid's claim that the company refused to install the required pollution controls.

“Despite intensive efforts, the owners were not able to secure necessary new coal and water agreements by the 2005 deadline and the plant suspended operations as agreed,” he said.

The agreement in 1999 gave Edison six years, until Dec. 31, 2005, to put into operation approximately a half-billion dollars of air pollution control equipment. But the total project price was more than double that because the Navajo and Hopi Indian Tribes' governments wanted a new water source for Peabody Energy's Black Mesa Coal Mine.

The tribes wanted a new supply, near Interstate 40 between Flagstaff and Winslow. This would have required construction of more than 100 miles of pipes and pumps to get the water to the mine, along with replacing the old leaky line with a larger new one. Peabody had been pumping about 4,500 acre-feet of high-quality water from deep wells on Black Mesa. The new capacity for Mohave alone would have been approximately 6,000 acre-feet, and the tribes wanted almost that much on top.

Mohave was the only power plant in the country to receive its carbon fuel supply in the form a slurry of powdered coal mixed with water and pumped 273 miles from the mine on the two reservations in northeastern Arizona.

“The owners are evaluating (the) next steps for the plant, but it would be premature at this time to speculate on any particular use,” he said.

He said Mohave's end of production after more than 34 years was “consistent with the provisions of an agreement and consent decree reached six years previously with several environmental groups. That agreement and decree allowed the owners the option of either installing additional pollution control equipment by year-end 2005, or discontinuing coal-fired operations.”

To decommission the plant would cost an estimated $100 million among the four partners, with Edison's share being $56 million. The estimate was made for Edison's 2009 to 2011 general rate case and would take until 2010 to accomplish.

Mohave began generating 1,580 megawatts in 1971, with 56 percent or 885 megawatts to Edison, 20 percent or 316 megawatts to Salt River Project of Phoenix, 14 percent or 221 megawatts to Nevada Power Company of Las Vegas and 10 percent or 158 megawatts to the city of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.



Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law. http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html