News Releases

Sierra Pacific Plant Selected to Test Advanced Pollution Capturing Process

Oct 4, 2006

Project Focuses on Curbing Sulfur Oxides, Nitrogen and Mercury Emissions

Media Contacts:
Karl Walquist, (775) 834-3891
Stratos Tavoulareas of J-POWER EnTech, (703) 506-3948
George Offen, (650) 855-8942 or Chuck Dene, (650) 855-2425,, both of EPRI

An advanced process for removing pollutants from coal-fired power plant emissions -- Regenerative Activated Coke Technology (ReACT) -- is scheduled to be tested at the Valmy Generating Station in northern Nevada starting in the spring of 2007. The demonstration project -- which is subject to pending regulatory approvals -- is the result of an agreement announced by Sierra Pacific Resources (NYSE: SRP), Tokyo-based J-POWER EnTech Inc., and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), the California-based R&D think tank.

The ReACT process is a multi-pollutant control technology, which has been shown to reduce emissions significantly at coal-fired power plants. It has been used commercially in Japan and achieved impressive results. The purpose of the demonstration project at Valmy is to verify ReACT's performance with U.S. coals. Such verification is important before the domestic electric power industry commits to commercial projects utilizing ReACT.

The joint demonstration project is one of several expected to be conducted in the United States in which EPRI manages the testing contractor to provide an independent, third-party assessment of the technology.

"We commend Sierra Pacific Resources and its partners, J-POWER and EPRI, for undertaking this program to demonstrate the potential of the ReACT process to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants,"said Michael Elges, chief of the Bureau of Air Pollution Control, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection."If this demonstration is successful, it could open the door to a promising new technology for controlling pollutant emissions."

The ReACT process can reduce emissions of sulfur oxides (SO2 and SO3) by more than 98 percent, nitrogen oxides (NOx) by up to 80 percent and mercury emissions by more than 90 percent.

At the heart of the process is an adsorber filled with activated coke that functions as a magnet in trapping pollutants. The activated coke is removed slowly from the bottom of the adsorber, regenerated and then recycled into the adsorber again resulting in the continuous capture of pollutants.

Recent U.S. power industry engineering studies concluded that the ReACT technology has the potential to reduce emissions from the combustion of low- to medium-sulfur coals at lower costs than competing technologies. Also, ReACT is a dry process and requires only about 1 percent of the water required for conventional wet flue gas desulfurization. Finally, it does not produce wastes that need to be disposed.

The ReACT process has been applied commercially at about 15 large-scale power and industrial plants operating in Japan and Germany. Among the Japanese plants using the process are Isogo Unit No. 1, a 600-megawatt, state-of-the-art pulverized coal power station near Tokyo and Takehara Unit No. 2, a 350-megawatt fluidized bed boiler unit in Takehara, Japan, both owned and operated by J-POWER Corp.

Valmy is a 500-megawatt generating plant that is owned jointly by Sierra Pacific Power Company, a Sierra Pacific Resources'subsidiary that serves most of the electric customers in northern Nevada, and Idaho Power Company. Sierra Pacific Power operates the plant. Also participating in the project is another Sierra Pacific Resources subsidiary, Nevada Power Company, which provides electricity to Las Vegas and other parts of southern Nevada.

Valmy consists of two 250-megawatt, pulverized coal generating units located 40 miles east of Winnemucca, Nevada. Generating Units 1 and 2 at Valmy were completed in 1981 and 1985, respectively.

The Valmy ReACT demonstration project will utilize"slip-stream"equipment (2.5 MW equivalent) that will divert a small amount of flue gas from the Valmy Unit No. 1, approximately 1% of the total, to the ReACT pilot and measure the quantities of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants removed.

Bituminous and sub-bituminous coals will be tested during the six-month program, which will be managed by EPRI. Test results will be directly applicable to full-scale installations because the ReACT module used -- the activated coke cartridge -- is identical to what's used in a commercial installation, although on a smaller scale.

Headquartered in Nevada, Sierra Pacific Resources is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries are Nevada Power Company, the electric utility for most of southern Nevada, and Sierra Pacific Power Company, the electric utility for most of northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe area of California. Sierra Pacific Power Company also distributes natural gas in the Reno-Sparks area of northern Nevada. Other subsidiaries include the Tuscarora Gas Pipeline Company, which owns 50 percent interest in an interstate natural gas transmission partnership.

J-POWER EnTech, Inc., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of J-POWER (Electric Power Development Co., Ltd.) of Japan, one of the world's largest wholesale electric power generators. J-POWER, a public company listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, has 16,380 megawatts of installed capacity (approximately half coal-fired and the other half hydroelectric) and more than 2,400 kilometers of high voltage transmission lines in Japan and its annual revenues exceed $5 billion. J-POWER EnTech, Inc., was established in 2005 to market ReACT technology worldwide.

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), with major locations in Palo Alto, California, and Charlotte, North Carolina, was established in 1973 as an independent, nonprofit center for public interest energy and environmental research. EPRI brings together member organizations, the Institute's scientists and engineers, and other leading experts to work collaboratively on solutions to the challenges of electric power. These solutions span nearly every area of power generation, delivery, and use, including health, safety, and environment. EPRI's members represent over 90% of the electricity generated in the United States. International participation represents nearly 15% of EPRI's total R&D program.