Mohave sale, restart dead

By Kathy Helms, Diné Bureau
Gallup Independent, May 23, 2007

WINDOW ROCK Efforts to find a buyer for Mohave Generating Station have failed, and co-owners are now in the process of ceasing all activities aimed at preserving and restarting the plant, Southern California Edison announced Tuesday in its monthly report to the California Public Utilities Commission.

"SCE is not aware of any intention on the part of any of the other Mohave co-owners to further pursue any effort toward a Mohave restart, and accordingly SCE and the other co-owners are now turning their full focus to the future reuse or other disposition of the plant site," SCE said in the report issued by Raquel Ippoliti, project analyst.

The 1,580-megawatt plant has been shut down since December 2005, pursuant to a 1999 consent decree which gave Mohave owners six years to install necessary pollution control devices.

The consent decree was prompted by a 1998 complaint filed by Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, and the National Parks & Conservation Association Inc. over Mohave's emissions.

"We can all breathe easier today. It marks the end to last century's era of exploiting earth's fossil fuels. Mohave was one of the dirtiest and most profligate coal-fired power plants on the planet," said Roger Clark, Air & Energy Program director for Grand Canyon Trust in Flagstaff.

"Renewable energy and efficiency are the only reasonable and cost-effective options. Thanks to Southern California Edison for making this heroic decision," Clark said.

SCE decided in June 2006 to discontinue its efforts to return Mohave to operation as an SCE asset. Two other Mohave co-owners, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Nevada Power Co., made similar announcements.

The fourth co-owner, Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (SRP), then undertook efforts to assemble a new ownership group that would include SRP and others and would seek to restart Mohave, but SRP discontinued that effort in February.

Since then, SCE has explored the possibility of selling Mohave to new owners who might restart the Laughlin, Nev., plant. However, as of May 15, SCE said, it has discontinued this effort.

"Despite an intensive effort over several months, SCE has not been able to secure a firm offer to purchase on terms and conditions that would be acceptable to SCE, and SCE has reluctantly concluded that there is an insufficient likelihood of doing so to justify the time and considerable expense that would be involved in continuing with the effort," according to the report.

Besides the direct costs of the sale effort itself, which has included the assistance of outside professional advisers, "certain terms and conditions insisted upon by prospective buyers appeared, in SCE's judgment, not to be conducive to receiving regulatory approvals and closing the sale promptly, if at all, especially in light of current policies on greenhouse gas emissions."

SCE and Mohave co-owners will cease funding of the ongoing work of the U.S. Office of Surface Mining and other agencies on the Black Mesa Project Environmental Impact Statement.

SCE said it is not known whether Peabody Western Coal Co., operator of the Black Mesa and Kayenta coal mines, or any others will assume funding of the Black Mesa EIS.

Co-owners will not pursue renewal of Mohave's air permit or the Permit to Construct for the required air pollution controls.

SCE now will review plant staffing with the co-owners. While some on-site staff is expected to be retained for safety and security, operation of the Mohave switchyard and other purposes, SCE expects to reduce the staffing level substantially from the current 65 employees.


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