SPI Cogen Update 0810

Sierra Pacific Industries: We forgot to check the contract?  082910

The latest scuttlebutt about the SPI Loyalton cogen plant closure is that NV Energy is suddenly paying about a third of what they were per kilowatt.  They had a contract, the contract expired, they built a new contract, but it was based on the old rate index and now NVE is using a rate index that means they don’t have to pay them.  So, they had to close the cogen or operate at a loss.  

That NV Energy might try to pull some such a scam is certainly not hard to believe.  The corporation is in turn owned by another corporation.  In the United States, corporations are allowed to behave in immoral… some prefer “amoral,” ways.  As long as the law isn’t broken, a corporation is allowed to do things an individual would go to hell for.  So, yes, it is possible NVE pulled some stuff.

Even if that’s true, a few issues remain:

1.  Why produce a press release that blames, congress, Quentin Youngblood, and everyone who owns a Prius?   
2.  Why make it sound like it is a supply problem, when everyone in Sierra County has been struggling to get the mill biomass, and there are piles in the yard?
3. Doesn’t SPI have someone in the office who reads contracts?  Shouldn’t a multimillion dollar corporation with a couple of cogen plants know how to read the fine print?

Which is it, is SPI lying, or stupid?  NVE is a corporation, just like SPI is, are they trying to suggest NVE is doing something SPI wouldn’t if they could?  Is this to mean that they expect NVE to operate from a position of clear good faith, but SPI gets to do what it wants?

When the elephants fight… Original photo from HERE

Everyone who knows the plant maintains it will run again, that SPI continues to put money into it, and that it’s tough for a biomass plant to make it against natural gas and coal.  Mistakes were made, the lawyers are talking about it (very comforting) and eventually, it will turn wildfire into green fire again.

What is very clear is that the cogen plant means much more to us here in Sierra County, than it does to NVE or SPI.  Our future is sketchy, anyway, but as long as we can create a market for what we have too much of, biomass, we might be able to survive.  The purpose the cogen plant serves us is too important to leave to huge corporations, far from here.  

Note: Sierra County, through Supervisors Pat Whitley and Peter Huebner, working the Sierra County Work Connection and Health and Human Services Director Carol Roberts, are trying to help cogen families find new jobs.  Rumors are SPI provided some workers severance.  
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