Reid Gardner Station
Reid Gardner Station was a 636.8-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station owned and operated by NV Energy near Moapa, Nevada.
- Owner: NV Energy
- Parent Company: Berkshire Hathaway
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 636.8 MW (Megawatts)
- Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 114.0 MW (1965), Unit 2: 114.0 MW (1968), Unit 3: 114.0 MW (1976), Unit 4: 294.8 MW (1983)
- Location: 1 Wally Kay Wy., Moapa, NV 89025
- GPS Coordinates: 36.6531, -114.6364
- Technology: Subcritical (Unit 4)
- Coal type: Bituminous
- Coal Consumption: 1.9 million tons/year
- Coal Source:
- Number of Employees: 100-250
- Unit Retirements: Units 1 to 3 retired in 2014, Unit 4 in 2017.
Units 1-3 were retired in December 2014 and unit 4 in March 2017. The retired coal plant will be replaced with a 100-megawatt renewable power purchase agreement and the acquisition of a natural-gas fueled combined cycle facility called South Point.
- 2002 CO2 Emissions: 3,563.596 tons
- 2002 SO2 Emissions: 1,977 tons
- 2002 NOx Emissions: 10,735 tons
- 2005 Mercury Emissions: 61 lb.
- 2006 Mercury Emissions: 71 pounds
- 2006 CO2 Emissions: 5,166,573 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions: 2,015 tons
- 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
- 2006 NOx Emissions: 8,643 tons
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Reid Gardner Station
In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.
Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Reid Gardner Station
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Asthma ER visits||3||$1,000|
Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011
Toxic Waste Data
- Chromium Waste: 39,259 pounds
- Air Release: 318 pounds
- Land Release (Landfill/Surface Impoundment/Well): 38,941 pounds
- Dioxin Waste: 3 grams
- Air Release: 3 grams
- Lead Waste: 53,337 pounds
- Air Release: 341 pounds
- Land Release (Landfill/Well): 52,996 pounds
Drinking water contaminated with hexavalent chromium from coal may cause cancer
A report released by EarthJustice and the Sierra Club in early February 2011 stated that there are many health threats associated a toxic cancer-causing chemical found in coal ash waste called hexavalent chromium. The report specifically cited 29 sites in 17 states where the contamination was found. The information was gathered from existing EPA data on coal ash and included locations in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Massachusetts, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virgina and Wisconsin. In Nevada, the Reid Gardner Station in Moapa was reported as having high levels of chromium seeping into groundwater.
As a press release about the report read:
- Hexavalent chromium first made headlines after Erin Brockovich sued Pacific Gas & Electric because of poisoned drinking water from hexavalent chromium. Now new information indicates that the chemical has readily leaked from coal ash sites across the U.S. This is likely the tip of the iceberg because most coal ash dump sites are not adequately monitored.
Reid Gardner coal-ash landfill expansion moves forward
On April 28, 2011 NV Energy moved a step closer toward expanding its controversial landfill for toxic coal-ash waste at its power plant near Moapa, Nevada.
Southern Nevada Health District's board directed its staff to proceed with finalizing conditions for a permit it approved in October 2011 to expand the Reid Gardner Station's landfill, paving the way for 35 more years of operating the coal-fired plant. Moapa Band of Paiutes and the Sierra Club opposed the expansion, noting that it would likely lead to an increase in local water contamination.
Litigation and Controversy
- June 19, 2006
- Complaints from a Moapa tribe living in the shadow of the Reid Gardner facility go nearly completely unheard.
- Residents have complained for years that the smell of sulfur and the frequent low-hanging, sickly yellow clouds in their valley are harmful to their way of life as well as their health.
- The sodium sulfate that creates the smell is a byproduct of the nitrogen oxide scrubbers used to comply with emissions regulations. When this byproduct is added to evaporation pools with too little oxygen, bacteria develops, feeds on the sodium sulfate, and releases hydrogen sulfide which has a sulfur smell.
- Little can be done to change this because the plant, at least currently, is within its regulatory limits.
- The plant was unresponsive to complaints and requests for plant inspectors to visit the reservation and see the effects.
- April 3, 2007
- Nevada Power settled a suit by state and federal authorities for $90 million dollars.
- They received 54 violation notices in July 2005, mostly for failure to control emissions as well as poorly monitored and recorded information for regulators.
- In addition to a $1 million dollar fine and $4 million in energy conservation products, Nevada Power was ordered to upgrade its emissions technology with a new filter system as well as nitrogen oxide reducers.
- June 26, 2007
- The Environmental Integrity report on the 50 dirtiest plants has Reid Gardner at the number one spot for dirtiest carbon dioxide emitting plant.
- November 9, 2009
- In an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Gardner began burning a mixture of biomass with coal. NV Energy, as part of the state energy portfolio standard, must produce 25% of its energy using renewable resources by 2025. However, lawmakers contend that burning biomass in coal-fired plants, with coal, was not what they envisioned. Additionally, another controversy has arisen over the wood from the Kaibab National Forest in Northern Arizona which is supplying the plant's biomass. Some critics contend that biomass actually is not a sustainable renewable energy resource.
Plant to be retired in 2014 and 2017
In June 2013, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval signed a law accelerating the retirement of Reid Gardner Station. Three of the plant's four units will close in 2014, and the remaining unit will close in 2017. Prior to the new law units 1, 2, and 3 had been scheduled for retirement in 2020 under Nevada Power Company's 2010-2029 Integrated Resource Plan.
In May 2014 NV Energy filed plans to retire and replace the Reid Gardner coal plant, including 200 MW of solar energy on the Moapa Band of Paiutes’ land, buying 15 MW of solar at Nellis Air Force Base, and purchasing 496 MW of existing gas plants in southern Nevada. The company will also seek permission to build an additional solar facility next to the Harry Allen Generating Station.
Articles and Resources
- "Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory" eia.gov, 860m March 2020
- "Reid Gardner plant closes after half-century of producing coal-fired power," Las Vegas Review Journal, March 15, 2017
- "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
- "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
- "EPA’s Blind Spot: Hexavalent Chromium in Coal Ash" Earthjustice & Sierra Club, February 1, 2011.
- "Coal ash waste tied to cancer-causing chemicals in water supplies" Alicia Bayer, Examiner.com, February 1, 2011.
- "Controversial coal-ash landfill expansion near Moapa moves forward" Keith Rogers, Las Vegas Review Journal, April 28, 2011.
- "Wood: Not the renewable energy some had in mind," Stephanie Tavares, ’’Las Vegas Sun’’, November 9, 2009
- Chris Clarke, "Nevada to Phase Out Energy Produced by Coal, Enviros and Tribes Applaud Move," Rewire, June 12, 2013
- Final order on Nevada Power Company 2010-2029 Triennial Integrated Resource Plan, Nevada Public Utilities Commission, Docket 10-02009, July 28, 2010, page 17
- "165th coal plant retired since 2010; new solar projects included," Sierra Club, May 2, 2014.
- Existing Electric Generating Units in the United States, 2005, Energy Information Administration, accessed Jan. 2009.
- Environmental Integrity Project, "Dirty Kilowatts: America’s Most Polluting Power Plants", July 2007.
- Facility Registry System, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accessed Jan. 2009.
- Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed Feb. 2009.
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