Toquop

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The Toquop plant was originally intended to use natural gas, but it was reconfigured as a coal-fired generating plant after natural gas prices increased. In March 2010, Sithe Global returned to its original plans to build Toquop as a natural gas plant.[1]

Background

On Aug. 20, 2007, Sithe filed an application with the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada. On Sept. 7, a request by several environmental groups to delay the permit approval process was denied by the Nevada Environmental Commission.[2] On Oct. 12, 2007, the BLM released the draft EIS for the plant[3] ; the public comments period on the DEIS closed on Dec. 12.[4]

Public hearings on the plant in Mesquite and St. George, Utah, on Nov. 14 were each attended by dozens of opponents of the plant[3]; a growing movement of environmental groups in southern Utah has launched an increasingly vocal campaign against the plant[4]. In November, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection announced that it was opening its review of its agreements with Sithe to input from environmental groups.[5] An effort by Nevada’s U.S. Senator Harry Reid – the *Senate majority leader – to block the plant’s funding in the Senate stalled in Dec. 2007.[6] On Dec. 20, 2007, the Ivins City Council passed a resolution opposing the construction of the plant.[7]

In March 2008, the Sierra Club and several other organizations submitted comments on the draft construction/air permit for the Toquop plant. In late February, NDEP and company officials responded to concerns about the plant with a public meeting in St. George, Utah. The majority of the opinions expressed at the meeting were against the plant.

In July 2008, the Sierra Club submitted a supplemental comment letter on the draft EIS for Toquop to the BLM in order to draw attention to two recently released federal reports on climate change in the US.[8]

In May 2008, Sithe let its water supply contracts for the Toquop plant lapse. Opponents of the plant have speculated that this development indicates Sithe is backing away from its plans, but Sithe officials insist they are still moving forward with the project. It has been noted that Sithe may have difficulties securing an alternative source of water in an arid region where every acre-foot of water is already accounted for.[9]

On November 24, 2008, the Sierra Club submitted a letter to the Nevada DEP, requesting that the air permitting process for the Toquop facility be re-initiated on the basis of a recent regulatory ruling, filed in an appeal of the air permit for the proposed Bonanza coal plant in Utah. US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also sent a letter to Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons asking Gibbons to reconsider his support for the Toquop plant and two others proposed for the state in light of the Bonanza ruling.[10]

Despite an unfavorable regulatory and economic climate, as of May 2009, Sithe continues to pursue permitting on the Toquop plant. According to a Sierra Club update in April 2009, the Final EIS statement is expected in mid-May 2009. Once the Nevada DEQ finalizes its review of the construction permit, hearings will be held to allow public comments on the decision to not regulate carbon dioxide emissions.[11]In a recent update to the Lincoln County Water District Board, Sithe's Thomas Johns stated that after the Final EIS, the only obstacles are the air permit and inevitable appeals that "have to run their course." He projected that construction could begin in late 2010 or early 2011.[12]

As of early 2010, Sithe maintained it has not canceled the Toquop project, however the continued delay in permitting and the termination of plans for another Sithe plant in Pennsylvania led to reports that the Toquop plant may be headed for cancellation.[13]

In March 2010 it was reported that Sithe Global is abandoning plans to develop Toquop as a coal-burning plant and instead will construct a natural gas plant at the site.[14]


Project Details

Sponsor: Sithe Global Power
Location: near Toquop Indian Reservation, Lincoln County, NV
Capacity: 750 MW
Type: Supercritical
Projected in service:
Status: Cancelled

Financing

Citizen Groups

Resources

References

  1. "Plans dropped for coal-fired power plant at Toquop", Bob Challinor, Desert Valley Times, March 12, 2010.
  2. “Nevada Denies Plea to Delay New Coal Power Plants", Reuters, September 10, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Mesquite and Utah Residents Protest Power Plant", The Ely Times, November 14, 2007.
  4. 4.0 4.1 “Opposition Grows Against Nevada Plant", Desert Morning News, December 6, 2007.
  5. “Environmentalists Allowed to Review Nevada Power Plant Agreements", Las Vegas Sun, November 3, 2007.
  6. “Reid’s Coal Battle On Hold", Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 18, 2007.
  7. "Ivins Speaks Out on Toquop", TheSpectrum.com, December 21, 2007.
  8. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed October 2008.
  9. "Planned Coal Plant Gives up its Water Source",Las Vegas Sun, May 6, 2008.
  10. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed January 2009.
  11. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed May 2009.
  12. "Sithe Global Toquop Update", Dave Maxwell, Lincoln County Record, April 23, 2009.
  13. "Toquop plant’s future still up in air", David Demille, The Spectrum, March 2, 2010.
  14. "Plans dropped for coal-fired power plant at Toquop", Bob Challinor, Desert Valley Times, March 12, 2010.

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