The state Department of Water Resources will stop buying electricity from a coal-burning power plant in Nevada next year as part of a plan to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
The department has been a leaseholder in the Reid Gardner Power Station in Moapa Valley, Nev., for 30 years. DWR holds a two-thirds interest in one of four generating units at the plant, located about an hour north of Las Vegas and owned by NV Energy, a publicly traded utility company.
Electricity from the plant primarily serves DWR’s State Water Project, the nation’s largest water diversion system and the single largest energy consumer in California. The electricity required to pump water out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and over the Tehachapi Mountains is responsible for 2 to 3 percent of all the energy demand in California, said John Andrew, assistant deputy director at DWR.
DWR will not renew its contract at Reid Gardner when it expires in 2013, Andrew said, one of several measures in a Climate Action Plan released by the department Monday.
The plan estimates that, in the decade of the 2000s, the State Water Project was responsible for emitting an average of 3.2 million metric tons per year of carbon dioxide, one of the gases primarily responsible for causing climate change. That is equivalent to the emissions of about 600,000 cars. DWR’s interest in the Reid Gardner Power Station accounts for about one-fourth of these emissions.
The State Water Project generates some of its own hydroelectricity, primarily at Oroville Dam. But the sprawling 700-mile-long water diversion system remains a net consumer of energy.