Las Vegas Sun

July 26, 2014

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Another black mark for coal

Coal is the key to keeping electric prices "reasonable and predictable," according to an Op-Ed piece by utility exec Michael Yackira in Sunday's Review-Journal.

Yackira, president and CEO of Sierra Pacific Resources, said conservation and renewable energy are part of the company's three-prong strategy to meet Nevada's power needs. The third leg of the tripod, coal,

will help "stabilize electricity costs... (and) balance our supply portfolio and mitigate... risk."

But Wall Street is signaling that coal is becoming an increasingly risky investment. According to a Wall Street Journal story today, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan Chase and Morgan Stanley say they're sure the U.S. government will cap greenhouse-gas emissions from coal plants soon. From now on, the Journalreports, the banks will require utilities seeking financing to prove their plants will be economically viable, even if Congress enacts strict limits.

The banks told the Journal they would encourage renewable energy development first, rather than coal. This, on the heels of a decision by the federal Energy Department to pull funding for experimental clean-coal plant FutureGen last week due to cost concerns, is being heralded as the latest obstacle for coal plant developers.

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