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Report: A proper Colstrip cleanup would create new jobs
Community activists in Colstrip, Mont., are urging the corporate owner of Colstrip Power Plant to invest in the excavation and removal of its coal-ash ponds once two of the plant’s three electricity-generating units shut down in 2022. A report by the Northern Plains Resource Council concludes that such a reclamation initiative would help sustain the town’s declining economy. “Doing a thorough cleanup now will employ more people, make the land more attractive to businesses and industries looking to come to Colstrip and potentially will keep taxpayers from footing the bill.”
Coal Plant Closure in Kansas
Westar Energy will close the coal-fired Tecumseh Energy Center near Topeka on Oct. 1, several years ahead of schedule. The company said it will also shut down fossil-fuel-powered units at electricity plants in Colwich and Wichita as part of its merger with Great Plains Energy, the owner of Kansas City Power & Lighter. A Westar spokesperson said the merger, “along with the addition of renewable energy,” allows for the shutdowns, which won’t affect service.
New Mexico legislators acknowledge need for greater tax-base diversification in San Juan County
Lawmakers in New Mexico are grappling with how to manage the imminent closure of a coal-fired power plant in San Juan County in a way that will protect the local tax base. The state is also exploring job-retraining programs in the area alongside policies that would encourage investment in local renewable energy and natural gas projects. The San Juan Generating Station produces millions of dollars in tax revenues for the county, and its owner, Public Service Company of New Mexico, is seeking a state deal that would support a transition to other forms of more economical power generation.
Texas town ‘knew it was coming,’ but is reeling nonetheless from plant closing
The town of Rockdale, Texas, lost much of its tax base with the recent shutdown of the coal-fired Sandow Power Plant. Over 300 jobs were eliminated by the closure in January, and the local school district will collect only $614,000 in property taxes this year from the plant’s owner, Luminant, compared with $4.1 million last year. “We knew that it was coming,” said one local official. “We just didn’t think that it was coming this fast.”
Op-ed: Embracing transition, PSC of New Mexico is acting in customers’ best interest
The Public Service Company of New Mexico, the biggest utility in the state, is doing right by its customers in planning to close the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station by 2020 and replace it with renewable resources, gas-fired generation and power-storage technology. The transition promises to provide “important and beneficial economic development opportunities for our state and its rural communities,” writes the author, who notes that the wind and solar industries have already invested $4.4 billion locally.
Another Kentucky coal-plant closure heralds more change to come
In announcing the retirement by 2020 of its 54-year-old coal-fired electricity plants, a Kentucky city is joining a market tide toward transition. The closure will affect 60 employees, and while the city of Owensboro will continue to get electricity from some conventional sources, it is now pursuing a solar power purchase agreement. “It’s just as in when your car gets older, or any other piece of mechanical equipment, it becomes harder and harder and more expensive to maintain it,” said a utility spokeswoman of the decision to close Elmer Smith Station.
Deal moves Colstrip closer to a "post-coal" future
The Montana Public Service Commission approved a sale that moves ownership of the Colstrip Power Plant to a Canadian corporation in a deal that includes a $4.5 million payment to the city of Colstrip as part of an arrangement meant to blunt the impact of the eventual closure of the plant. Commissioners said the deal “appears to be in the public interest, for Montana consumers and the state.”
Xcel steps up date for retirement of two Colorado coal plants
Citing the “historically low” cost of renewables, Xcel Energy is pressing for state approval to close two coal-fired generators in Colorado a decade earlier than planned. The plants, part of the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo, would be retired in 2022 and 2025 under the proposal, and would be replaced by a pair of existing gas-fired plants, three windfarms and five utility-scale complexes.
Site of Former Coal-Fired Plant in Indiana Set for Redevelopment as a High-Tech Project
The 77-acre site of an abandoned Gary, Ind., coal-fired electricity plant that closed in 2012 is slated to become a national data-storage center. Plans call for five buildings of more than 100,000 square feet each. The project, seen as a “next chapter” for the area, will help restore $4.5 million in tax revenue lost when the State Line plant shut down.
$3 Million in Transition Funding for Colstrip, Montana
In anticipation of the closure of Colstrip Generating Station in Montana, one of the power plant’s owners has pledged $3 million “to help its host community transition beyond coal.” The commitment brings the total in such funding from the station’s owners to $10 million. “Any help is a good thing,” said one advocate for keeping the struggling plant alive. “There’s going to have to be a lot done.”
As Washington state looks for cleaner power, a Montana coal town faces an uncertain future
As market trends continue to shrink the coal industry and plants shut down, communites are faced with the challenge of transitioning. With two of four units closing by 2022, the community of Colstrip, Montana prepares for the phaseout.
Texas Town Faces Transition in January Plant Closure
With the closure of the Sandow Coal Power Plant a few weeks off, the east-central town of Rockdale is trying to come to grips with the loss of hundreds of jobs. The plant is one of three being shuttered by Luminant, the biggest power producer in Texas. “Whatever happens, everyone agrees Rockdale needs to attract more industry and employers.”
2018 Outlook: Another Year of Coal Plant Retirements
A wave of coal-fired electricity plant retirements— in Kentucky, Missouri, Montana and Texas — add to a toll that continues to add up nationally. The closures accelerate a trend in which nearly twice as much coal-generation capacity will be retired in 2018 compared to 2017.
Montana Plant, $2 Million in Arrears on Local Taxes, Will Close Next Year
The owner of a relatively new coal-fired power plant in Montana says it will probably close next year after having lost money since 2014. The closing will affect about 30 people and will put the company, Heorot Power, further behind on $2 million in delinquent tax obligations to local schools and government.
Pennsylvania Coal Town Resembles Many Left in Transition Lurch
Homer City, Penn., is typical of communities facing difficult economic transition as its coal-fired power plant, faces likely closure. “Reality has triumphed over wishful thinking,” says one local coal broker.
In Texas Plant Closings, a National Trend Persists
Two imminent power-plant closings in Texas spell difficulties for a coal mine in Wyoming that depends on those plants for more than its demand. The closures of the Monticello and Big Brown plants by utility company Luminant will add to an expected shutdown in 2018 nationally of more than 13,600 megawatts of coal-fired power, compared with 7,600 in 2017.