Edward W. Clark Generating Station

The Edward W. Clark Generating Station is a 1,102 megawatt capacity natural gas power plant located in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is the oldest of its kind, and began as a steam-generated power plant serving the Las Vegas, Nevada area beginning in 1954 and continuing this service up until its renovation in the 1970s. It includes 19 different generating units installed between 1973 and 2008.

The oldest of the 19 generating units is the General Electric MS-700 series turbine generator, which is turned on to meet full capacity during the spike in energy demands during the summer season. The Edward W. Clark plant also currently possesses 4 upgraded Westinghouse 501B6 legacy combustion-based generators. These combustion-based units were installed in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are prized for their low emissions and their heat-recycling capabilities that power two Mitsubishi steam turbines that efficiently generate extra power. The most modern additions to the Edward W. Clark station are 12 FT8 Pratt & Whitney peaking units which can deliver up to 600 megawatts of power to meet short term spikes in demand from the plant.

Amazingly enough, the facility alone has a high enough energy output to power 665,000 households at one time across the state. The generating station doubled its generating capacity and reduced emissions by 50% after renovations were completed in 2009. The Edward W. Clark station also features a 75-kW high-concentration photovoltaic system built in a joint venture with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory along with the University of Nevada.

Despite improved energy output and decreased emission totals, the untold health toll on the community might outweigh those benefits. As a fuel-powered facility, harmful air emissions remain a threat, despite reductions. However, a much more acute threat to employees of this facility might rest in the materials used to construct this facility. As the oldest steam-generating power plant in Nevada, outdated construction techniques and materials potentially threaten all former employees because of its likely use of asbestos as an insulator. Asbestos poses a significant threat to those who come into contact with it and allow it to settle in their bodies where it can lead to a lethal form of cancer known as mesothelioma.