News Releases

EPA Recognizes SPPC for Polution Prevention

Feb 11, 1999

Sierra Pacific Power Company
Contact: Bob Sagan or Karl Walquist
Phone: (775)834-4345

For Immediate Release

Reno-based Utility One of Only Eight in U.S.

Sierra Pacific Power Co. is one of only eight electric utilities in the United States (see list attached) to be awarded acid rain"bonus" allowances by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for undertaking energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.

In order to be awarded these bonus allowances, a utility must use or sell energy derived from renewable sources, such as wind, solar or geothermal technologies. Sierra Pacific has contracts for a significant amount of energy produced from geothermal sources. Allowances Cap SO2

In addition to bonus allowances, there are"regular" allowances, which represent a tool to cap or otherwise limit sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by establishing a finite quantity of pollution that can be emitted on a national basis. SO2 is the key ingredient in acid rain. These energy measures also reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, considered the chief global warming gas, and nitrogen oxides, another ingredient in the formation of acid rain.

The EPA has worked out a formula, providing utilities with regular allowances, which represent the amount of emissions they are permitted on an annual basis. If a utility's emissions exceed the number of regular allowances it's allocated, it could be severely penalized by the EPA. The effort is designed to ensure that nationwide SO2 emissions will be cut in half by the year 2010.

"Bonus" allowances are over and above the regular allowances, and act as incentives to help encourage the development of renewable resources. Utilities can either bank or sell their bonus allowances.

Bonus allowances come from the Conservation and Renewable Energy Reserve, a special pool of 300,000 allowances set aside by Congress to reward utilities that voluntarily adopt pollution prevention projects. Sierra Pacific Power has earned 3,430 allowances from the EPA under the Bonus Allowance Program since its inception in 1993.

While the EPA has encouraged Sierra Pacific and other utilities to participate in the Conservation and Renewable Energy Allowance Program (and thereby receive emissions allowances rather than some other form of incentive), the utility never has had to use its bonus allowances to offset air pollutant emissions.

Utilities Receiving EPABonus Allowances in 1998


No. of Bonus Alowances
New York State Electric and Gas, New York$1375
City of Austin, Texas$1099
Portland General Electric Co., Oregon$955
Sierra Pacific Power Co., Nevada$623
ESI Energy, Florida$135
Commonwealth Electric Co., Massachusetts$90
Cambridge Electric Light Co., Massachusetts$12
Jacksonville Electric Authority, Florida 12$12