SCE: Plant purchase still possible

By Jim Maniaci, Mohave Daily News, July 10, 2007

LAUGHLIN - Southern California Edison is traveling simultaneous tracks which lead in opposite directions concerning the future of the idled Mohave Generating Station.

In May, SCE announced the end to what a company press officer calls its “concerted” effort to find a buyer to take over the effort to restart the 36-year-old electricity producer.

On July 2, in her 29th required monthly status report to the California Public Utilities Commission, attorney Sumner J. Koch wrote that since then, “SCE has received further inquiries from parties interested in the possibility of purchasing and restarting the plant.”

She added, “In light of these inquiries, and to allow for adequate review and evaluation, certain low-cost and very time-critical permit renewal activity, necessary to preserving the plant's air permit and its permit for construction of the air pollution control equipment that would be required for a restart, has gone forward.”

Other work which would be needed to again fire up the boilers “... remains suspended, at least for the moment.”

Koch concluded, “In parallel, SCE and the other co-owners also are continuing with the necessary planning and preliminary steps for a reduction of the Mohave workforce and decommissioning of the plant, so that the Mohave owners are in a position to proceed on that path without delay, if they decide to do so.”

At one time the 300 or so MGS workers were the highest-paid in the Tri-State Area. The last time a figure was given about 20 percent remained on the job to preserve the plant and its affiliated distribution contact points.

The owners quit generating electricity Dec. 31, 2005, under a federal court order obtained by environmental activist groups.

That consent decree gave Edison six years to install about a half-billion dollars worth of updated air pollution control equipment.

Another $600 million was needed to change the water supply and delivery system for its coal supply. The coal was mined on the Navajo and Hopi Indian reservations in northeastern Arizona, ground up, mixed with water and pumped 273 miles as a slurry.

The two tribes wanted coal supplier Peabody Energy to stop using a deep, high-quality water supply and replace it with water from another aquifer more than 100 miles away.

Edison needed the contracts signed for the water and the additional (and enlarged) pipes and pumps operating before it could refire the boilers as part of the $1.1 billion upgrade.

Whatever water could be reclaimed from the de-watered coal was, in essence, free water on top of Mohave's Colorado River allocation.

An additional complication is the water right for MGS would allow only about half the normal time to recoup the investment.





Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law.