Plug pulled on power plant

Efforts to restart Mohave Generating Station halted, report says

Suzanne Adams, Kingman Miner
May 31, 2007

LAUGHLIN - The end of days may be coming soon for the Mohave Generating Station.

Major shareholder Southern California Edison has decided to discontinue efforts to restart or sell the plant, according to a monthly status report sent to the California Public Utilities Commission dated May 22.

Estimates put the cost of restarting the plant around $1 billion. That cost would have included restarting the Black Mesa coal mine, repairs to a coal slurry line that fed the plant and pollution controls for the plant.

"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," the report states.

According to the report, SCE began looking for new owners in February after the Salt River Project, a co-owner of the plant, ended its efforts to create a new ownership group.

The SCE states in the report that it is unaware "of any plans or interest on the part of the other Mohave co-owners to further pursue any efforts 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."

The other co-owners of the plant include Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Nevada Power Company and Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District.

SCE and the other co-owners plan to halt all efforts to maintain the plant for a possible restart of operations. This includes an end to funding an environmental impact study aimed at reopening the Black Mesa coal mines that fed the plant through a 273-mile coal slurry line; ceasing efforts to renew the plant's air permits and construction permits for pollution controls; and reducing staff levels at the plant "substantially from the current level of 65 employees."

Water allotment

The report did not state what SCE plans to do with the four square miles of land that the plant sits on, the $50 million worth of air pollution credits for the plant or the 16,000 acre-feet of Colorado River Water allotted to the plant for the next 20 years.

A news release from SCE states that the owners of the plant are "discussing various options for the plant site and property."

SCE states in the report that Peabody Western Coal Company, operator of the Black Mesa and Kayenta coal mines, may continue to fund the EIS. The final draft of the EIS is due this summer.

SCE shut the plant down in December 2005 after 36 years in order to comply with a consent agreement. The agreement was the conclusion of a 1998 Clean Air Act lawsuit brought against SCE and the other owners of the plant by several environmental groups.

Bid to reopen

In January 2006, SCE, Peabody Western Coal Company and Black Mesa Pipeline, Inc. asked the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to prepare an EIS on the possibility of reopening the Black Mesa coal mine, the coal slurry line that feeds the plant and an alternative source of water for the slurry line.

According to the draft EIS, 27 miles of currently abandoned slurry line runs through Kingman, much of it under Gordon Drive. If the plant had been restarted, the slurry line would have been rerouted around Kingman. In June 2006, SCE announced it would not restart the plant.

According to a draft EIS released in December, while the plant was in operation it produced around 1,500 megawatts of power.

When it closed, approximately 305 employees lost their jobs. The majority of the workers lived in Kingman.





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