Coal Plant Controversy Heats Up - 8 News NOW

Melissa Duran, Reporter

Coal Plant Controversy Heats Up

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The controversy surrounding more coal-fire plants coming to Nevada continues to heat up. Critics want the coal plants stopped, while Nevada power continues to guarantee their success.

More power with less pollutants in our air. That's the goal behind the newly retro-fitted Nevada Power Clark Station in Henderson.

The plant will now increase power generation by 117-percent and reduce emissions by nearly 50-percent.

"We'll be able to deliver more reliable service to our customers and be able to deliver it faster," said plant director Dariusz Rekowski.

But Rekowski says, even though they consider natural gas facilities to be successful, coal-fire plants are also needed to help stabilize power costs when natural gas prices go up. He says with modern technology, emissions from coal plants can also be dramatically reduced

"The lowest cost producer is coal plant at this point in time. In the future, it may change but renewable energy is still expensive," said Rekowski.

Critics of coal fire plants say renewable energy needs to be explored more. The Sierra Club, along with several other organizations, are fighting the three proposed Nevada coal-fire plants that are on track to being built.

"It concerns me that they are trying to brand it as a clean technology. It's not. These plants they are proposing are not even considered clean coal. This is a health risk, economic risk and environmental risk and it crosses party lines, income levels and the people of Nevada are opposed to these plans," said Lydia Ball with the Sierra Club.

The Nevada Clean Energy Campaign plans to send nearly 1000 signed postcards to Governor Jim Gibbons -- showing their opposition.

"We should take a step back, re-look at all of the reports. Energy efficiency is our most cost effective way of meeting our energy demand and that's 24 hours power as well," adds Ball.

But Nevada Power says renewable energy is too unreliable, especially for a growing community. They also have to find inexpensive ways to provide their service. They are working to be 20-percent renewable by 2015.

Critics say in the long run coal-fire plants will be expensive, as companies try to keep up with federal regulations on emissions.

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