Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The death of Desert Rock?

High Country News

Sithe Global is going back to the drawing board on the proposed coal-fired power plant.

News - March 31, 2010 by Laura Paskus

"The 1,500 megawatt coal-fired Desert Rock power plant – proposed for tribal land in the Four Corners region near Farmington, N.M. -- once seemed like a slam dunk. A joint venture of the Navajo Nation and energy company Sithe Global, the plant promised the tribe much-needed jobs, along with millions in revenue and coal royalties. In 2003, when it was launched, coal's star was rising: The Bush White House refused to acknowledge the existence of climate change, and regulatory agencies were generally more permissive.

Seven years later, though, Desert Rock looks all but dead. The economy is flailing, and investors worry how future climate change legislation will affect energy development. Meanwhile, electricity demand in the Southwest is declining, and with public utilities scrambling to keep up with statewide mandates to generate more power from renewable energy sources, nobody is currently seeking new sources of coal power.

So Sithe Global, which the tribe had expected to fund the $4 billion project, is going back to the drawing board, says Sithe Executive Vice President Dirk Straussfeld. Suddenly, everything is up for review – including the plant's design as a coal facility." More>>>>

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