Idaho Power has announced its intention to close a Nevada coal-fired power plant it co-owns with NV Energy 10 years sooner than originally planned. Both units at Nevada’s last utility-owned coal-fired power plant will be closed by 2025. Idaho Power said in filings with state regulators that it will work with Nevada-based NV Energy to reach an agreement to stop burning coal at the North Valmy plant 250 miles east of Reno.
Environmentalists have long been pushing for an expedited closure of the plant. They say the plans to keep one unit operating to 2035 would waste tens of millions of dollars, primarily because coal costs significantly more than other energy sources.
Idaho Power and NV Energy each own half of the North Valmy Generating Station, which was built in the 1980s. Idaho Power officials first asked its state regulators last October to allow them to accelerate depreciation of the plant’s value so that it can pay off its share of the investment sooner.
Under existing plans, one unit would close in 2031, and the other in 2035. The deal reached in the proposed settlement calls on Idaho Power to reach an agreement with NV Energy to amend the current operating agreement to “permanently cease burning coal” by the end of 2019 at one unit, and by the end of 2025 at the other.