Battle between coal and renewables plays out in Nevada

A drama in the small Nevada town of Gerlach is a harbinger of things to come for communities around the U.S. On one side is Sempra Energy, which wants to build a coal-fired power plant that would generate enough energy for 1.5 million households and pipe it west to California and up to the Pacific Northwest. On the other side is a somewhat motley coalition of renewable-energy advocates with a proposal for a collection of wind, solar, and geothermal installations that would do the same for 1.2 million households. The transmission line that would carry the energy doesn’t have room for both. Sempra already has funding and can guarantee results, but coal spews smog- and acid rain-forming emissions into the air. The renewable advocates don’t quite have funding together, and their technology is less tested, but it runs clean. As ranch owner David Rumsey put it, “The difficult political decision in Nevada is: Do we take this old-fashioned coal plant, or do we wait?”