Utilities Vote to Close Gigantic Arizona Coal Plant

Written by Sami Grover

Whether it’s a Danish energy giant committing to phasing out coal or Deutsche Bank deciding to no longer lend to coal mines or coal-fired power plants, the writing on the wall keeps getting larger and clearer for all to see.

Coal is not coming back.

The latest piece of evidence, reported over at AZ Central, is about the major utilities which own the massive 2,250 megawatt Navajo Generating Station in Arizona—described in the report as one of the largest polluters in the nation. The plan, according to AZ Central, is to shutter the plant by 2019, when one of the three turbines will have to be retired anyway. But because decommissioning takes time, and the lease for the plant is up by 2020, the utilities will have to either work out a deal with the Navajo Nation to extend the lease, or they’ll have to shut down at the end of this year to clean up and be out of there before their lease is up.

Given the astounding economic, health and environmental impacts of coal, this decision is a major win for environmentalists. But as with any such closures, we should all be calling for support for the communities who have relied on this project—and a nearby coal mine—for income.

In much the same way that Australian unions have joined forces with environmentalists to demand a “just transition” away from coal, we need to make sure that in the shift away from fossil fuels, we create opportunities for all communities to benefit.

I asked before if environmentalists have failed West Virginia. The same question should be asked in ten years’ time of the Navajo Nation.

This post originally appeared on TreeHugger

Photo Credit: eflon/Flickr


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Melania P
Melania P4 months ago


Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 months ago

Coal is such a public health disaster that it should be worthwhile to buy out the coal industry including pensioning off employees from rank and file miners through CEO rather than have so much health disaster to clean up after. Younger healthier workers will be better off placed in new jobs doing something more constructive.

S M5 months ago

Does Trump know about this?! ;)

Sally Fisher
Sally Fisher5 months ago

Folk should remember that you don't have to accept all the information about climate change to make investment in renewable energy sources a sensible option. (That's Arnie's line in California btw - fossil fuels cause pollution, so the less we rely on them the lower our health care and other environmental costs are; climate change is a side issue.) If - for example - the site if this power station was turned over to both manufacturing solar panels AND generating solar power, that would provide both work and income. This is the sort of solution that many of the mid-west states should be looking at. I can think of several - solar powered charging stations for batteries for electric cars - if only you could get those same batteries made to common standards as with petrol/diesel engines, then gas (petrol in the UK) stations could provide exchange batteries to enable electric cars to be used on longer trips. Entrepreneurs should be looking at renewal energy and the technology that goes with it as an opportunity, instead of hunkering down and hoping it goes away - as far too many do at the moment. As I said - you don't have to believe in climate change - you just have to realise that most of the rest of the world does and THAT makes for good investment/manufacturing opportunities.

Jonathan Y
Jonathan Y5 months ago

Good news. However, the President of the Navajo Nation was just on NPR describing how the economic loss would be unsustainable for his tribe, the largest in Arizona (the reservation alone takes up the upper northeast quarter of the state). He's actually going to appeal to Trump to keep it open, in line with his campaign promises to revitalize coal. Rather than that, we should push for compensation and investment in renewables, which he also said the tribe is interested in.

Victoria P
Victoria P5 months ago

Thank-you for the good news....

anne M
anne M5 months ago

Doesn't that involve Peabody from the UK?

Patricia H
Patricia Harris5 months ago

Richard A, well, this is still a huge win for the environment, regardless. And we're going to make sure it stays that way.

Hamburger M

Great news!