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
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
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
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
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.