Station won't be revived

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, Mohave Daily News

LAUGHLIN - Southern California Edison is giving up its effort to resuscitate the Mohave Generating Station after trying for almost two years to revive the 1970s era plant which provided up to 1,500 megawatts of electricity to urban residents.

In its 28th monthly report to the California Public Utilities Commission on the status of MGS, dated May 22, the Los Angeles-based corporation said, “SCE has now decided to discontinue its effort ... to sell Mohave to a new owner or owners who would seek to restart the plant. SCE is not aware of any plans or interest on the part of the other Mohave co-owners to further purse any efforts towards a Mohave restart.”

Written by company attorney Sumner J. Koch, the report to CPUC Chair Sean Gallagher continued, “Accordingly SCE and the other co-owners are now winding down all activities that have been aimed at preserving and facilitating the possibility of a Mohave plant restart and are focusing on the future reuse or other disposition of the Mohave site.”

The property includes approximately four square-miles of valuable land overlooking Casino Drive between the Colorado River and the community's main residential-business area. The tall smokestack is one of 10 skyscraper-height structures in the town of almost 9,000 permanent residents.

In addition to valuable land, Edison, Nevada Power Company, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the Phoenix-based Salt River Project also own around $50 million worth of air pollution credits which can be sold. And MGS used about 16,000 acre-feet a year of water from the Colorado River through a right which expires in less than 20 years.

Part of the problem with resurrecting a plant which a federal environment decree shut down on Dec. 31, 2005, is that it was the only power plant in the country which received its coal via a pipeline carrying a slurry mix of ground coal and water. The coal came from the Black Mesa Mine, mined by a Peabody Energy division on the Navajo and Hopi Indian reservations, and pumped 273 miles.

Peabody had fought for years for a permanent mining permit from the federal government and was seeking another water supply to replace its eight deep (more than 3,000 feet) wells drawing prime water from the Navajo Aquifer. The tribes' consent to use that water also ended Dec. 31, 2005.

Edison, as the majority owner of MGS, needed a signed contract for the water before it could commit to restart Mohave.

The federal government wrapped everything together into what it called the Black Mesa Project, with Edison paying the cost of the environment impact statement to draw water from the Coconino Aquifer on the southwestern edge of the Navajo reservation, the largest in the country.

Part of the study was a new series of wells and almost 110 miles of new uphill plumbing to reach the coal mine, along with replacing the worn-out line to Laughlin.

At last word the project would have cost $1.1 billion, with about $500 million for the modern air pollution control equipment and systems in the Laughlin plant and the rest for the reservation-related work.




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