NV Energy Testing Producing Cleaner Energy - 8 News NOW

NV Energy Testing Producing Cleaner Energy

Posted: Updated:

NV Energy says it has found a way to be kinder to the environment while powering Las Vegas and it involves mixing coal with wood chips.

NV Energy says the mixture produces cleaner energy and will help them meet the state goal for using renewable materials to create energy. Environmental groups applaud the effort, but are  skeptical.

A large part of the electricity used in Las Vegas comes from a plant in the desert 50 miles north of the city. NV Energy decided to use that plant for testing. The power company shipped in wood to mix with the coal.

"This material here comes from the Kaibab National Forest in Arizona," said David Sims, NV Energy project director.

Sims says the test started two-and-a-half weeks ago. He is certain that emissions will be lowered because of the mixture. "Because the wood has a significantly lower emissions content compared with coal," he said.

At the moment, the Ponderosa wood makes up five percent of what goes into the boiler. Eventually it will be 10 percent if the tests go well. NV Energy didn't have to make any adjustments to the to the power plant to use the coal and wood mixture. They did have to pulverize the wood. That process takes place at a nearby Indian reservation.

Sims thinks the wood pieces may have been too large in the earlier tests which resulted in a lower energy output. Using large front end loaders the power company keeps trying to get the mixture to a point where it will have the same energy output as coal. They are experimenting with different sizes of wood chips. 

The environmental group PLAN or Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, applauds the effort.

"It's a good first step, maybe a transition step. Let's make sure it's a transition to getting rid of coal altogether," said Launce Rake, PLAN. He says this kind of bio-mass could reduce harmful emissions by 25 percent.

"There is no clean coal. Even with a 25 percent reduction in emissions we still have a lot of problems out there with the junk that gets in the air," Rake said.

Sims says if the experiment works, the test will be expanded to a second power plant in northern Nevada.

NV Energy has one of only 10 power plants in the nation to try this bio-mass test. The other plants made costly adjustments to adapt for the wood. NV Energy thinks they can make it work without spending any money and making it less expensive for customers.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.