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August 20, 2014

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NV Energy:

Public Utilities Commission issues regulations for shutting down Reid Gardner plant

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Sam Morris

NV Energy’s Reid Gardner power station near Moapa is shown on Friday, Dec. 10, 1999.

Reid-Gardner Generating Plant

Reid Gardner Station, a coal fired power plant in Moapa, is shown on Friday, Dec. 7, 2007. Sierra Pacific was fined a million dollars and required to install $85 million worth of new pollution control technology at the plant. Launch slideshow »

The Nevada Public Utilities Commission has issued 19 pages of proposed rules for NV Energy to follow in shutting down the coal-fired Reid Gardner plant and will seek the public's opinion on them this month.

The proposed rules generally follow the law approved by the 2013 Legislature to retire the plant accused of emitting dangerous amounts of air pollution.

Public hearings are set for Jan. 23 and 30 at the commission's offices in Las Vegas — 9075 W. Diablo Drive, Ste. 250 — and Carson City — 1150 E. William St., hearing room A.

The commission hopes to adopt a final version of the regulations by the end of February.

NV Energy must file its first plan for starting to close the three units of the plant by May 1. The proposed regulations say one unit must be closed by Dec. 31, 2014; the second by Dec. 31, 2017; and the third by Dec. 31, 2019.

The commission is also requiring that NV Energy reveal the cost estimate for decommissioning each unit and cleaning the surrounding area. In the estimate, the utility must detail how it will build or acquire renewable energy sources and how it will add new jobs or retain the current workforce. If NV Energy uses natural gas to replace part of the power lost by closing Reid Gardner, it must supply information about the estimated cost to ratepayers and identify the uncertainty of natural gas pricing. The proposed regulation also says NV Energy must account for the cost to cancel contracts to supply coal to out-of-state sources.

The law says that if these costs amount to a more than 5 percent raise in rates for consumers by 2018, "the utility must propose a method or mechanism by which such excess may be mitigated."

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