Senate Leader's Bill Boosts Alternative Energy In Nevada

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, stepping up efforts to block new coal-fired power plants in Nevada, is introducing a bill requiring most power transmitted over a proposed cross-state line to come from alternative energy sources.

Reid's measure would require Nevada-based Sierra Pacific Resources to ensure that 75 percent of the power transmitted over its planned high-voltage line comes from solar, wind, geothermal or other alternative energy sources.

If Sierra, parent of Reno-based Sierra Pacific Power and Las Vegas-based Nevada Power, didn't build the line, the bill gives bonding authority to the Western Area Power Administration so it can do the job. Sierra has estimated cost of the big power transmission line at nearly $600 million.

Reid recently came out against three coal-fired power plants proposed for eastern Nevada.

Two are near Ely and the third is near Mesquite. Reid said the Ely-area projects alone would generate millions of tons of pollution.