Plans to Refurbish Mohave Coal Plant Fizzle

By Published On: February 9, 2007

The Salt River Project dropped its plans February 6 to purchase Southern California Edison’s 56 percent share in the shuttered Mohave coal-fired power plant facility, hammering another nail in the plant’s 1,580 MW coffin. The Salt River Project (SRP) in Arizona, which has a 316 MW stake in the Laughlin, Nevada, plant, “concluded that it was unable to bring the facility back into service with the appropriate environmental emission controls in sufficient time to make it economically feasible for Salt River Project customers,” said SRP spokesperson Scott Harelson. “It was a timing issue,” he added. The proposed purchase agreement between the Salt River Project and Edison required the latter to get the California Public Utilities Commission’s approval for the sale of its stake in the coal-fired facility by a certain date so that SRP and its partners could begin installing pollution control upgrades. The $750 million pollution equipment installation for the project was slated to begin next year. SRP hoped to have the refurbished coal plant back on line by late 2011. Edison said in a statement that it would continue exploring selling its 885 MW stake as well as decommissioning the coal plant. An unresolved issue is how the revenue generated from selling sulfur oxide emissions credits Edison acquired with the facility’s closure would be used (see sidebar). Mohave was shut down in December 2005 under a consent decree with a coalition of environmental groups because of its high levels of pollution and damage to the aquifer, which was drained to supply water for the coal slurry feeding the facility. Last June, Edison, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, and the Nevada Power Co. announced that they were not going to pursue firing up the old plant. At that time, the Salt River Project began seeking partners to buy the outstanding interests in the plant and to expand it. Last month, LADWP said it was considering selling its 10 percent interest to the Arizona agency (Circuit, Jan. 26, 2007). However, that potential purchase is off the table because it depended on the sale of Edison’s interest to the Salt River Project, according to Harelson. How the Salt River Project will meet growing demand in Arizona remains to be seen. “It is too early to speculate as to what the project will do with its 20 percent interest,” Harelson said.

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