Coal makes little sense in the land of alternative energy |

Coal makes little sense in the land of alternative energy

It would be an odd announcement to hear that Saudi Arabia was planning to build coal-powered plants to cover its electricity needs, even while it sits on one of the world’s richest oil supplies.

But that’s why, to a much lesser degree, the construction of three coal-fired plants in Nevada is hard to fathom. We’re not sitting on oil reserves, but some of the greatest untapped alternative energy sources in the world, including geothermal, solar and wind.

The state would be wise to invest its political energy in realizing the potential of those reserves, rather than building three coal plants that will spew pollutants into the state’s clean air. The permitting for the plants has been happening so quickly that the state doesn’t even have a good plan for regulating those pollutants.

It’s true that the coal plants would diversify the state’s power supply, but that hardly seems critical when power is easily importable on the grid. The alleged consumer savings that would come from those plants would be eaten up in some $3.4 billion paid by consumers for their construction, according to Sen. Harry Reid, one of a growing legion of coal power plant opponents.

A governor that showed aggressive leadership in the development of alternative energy would leave a lasting legacy, and by combining with the state’s powerful congressional delegation could likely funnel millions of dollars here to fund the program.

A side benefit, according to Reid, would be the creation of thousands of jobs.

We’ve heard of plenty of negative lists headed by Nevada, ranging from drug use to divorce. It’s time for Nevada to get to the head of a good one, namely alternative energy. Think what that could do to not only power homes, but sell the state as a great place to live.