It’s a long way from being a done deal, but Idaho Power has asked the Public Utilities Commission to clear the way for a possible early retirement of a two-unit Nevada coal plant that has outlived its useful and economic life. The early shutdown of the North Valmy Generation Station near Winnemucca, NV, which Idaho Power co-owns with Las Vegas-based NV Energy, has been sought by the Snake River Alliance and other clean energy advocates for many years.
As recently as 2013, Idaho Power defended continuing North Valmy operations beyond 2030. New information shows the plant is becoming uneconomic to operate, prompting Idaho Power to pursue plant closures in 2025 rather than the earlier scheduled 2031 and 2035. NV Energy, Idaho Power’s 50-50 partner in Valmy, has already announced its intent to retire the plant early.
While this is good news for advocates seeking to shut down greenhouse gas-spewing, climate-changing coal plants, there are two components of Idaho Power’s proposal to bear in mind:
Idaho Power and its multiple utility partners have already planned for the early retirement of the Boardman coal plant in Oregon, in which it has a 10 percent interest. Closing Valmy in 2025 would leave as the next primary Idaho Power coal plant targets portions of the Jim Bridger coal plant in Wyoming, in which Idaho Power is a one-third owner and which is easily the utility’s largest coal plant.