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article imageAfter 45 years, the Navajo Generating Station powers down

By Karen Graham     Nov 20, 2019 in Business
One of the nation’s largest coal plants permanently powered down this week after the owners determined it would be uneconomical to continue operating the facility as natural gas and renewable energy prices continue to drop.
In its prime, the Navajo Generating Station (NGS), located on the Navajo Reservation near Page, Arizona, was a 2,250-megawatt coal-fired power plant. It provided electricity for customers in Arizona, Nevada, and California, as well as providing power for pumping Colorado River water for the Central Arizona Project, supplying 1.5 million acre-feet of water yearly to central and southern Arizona.
The power plant closure on Monday was announced by the owner, Tempe, Arizona-based Salt River Project (SRP) power and water (SRP), one of the state's largest utilities. NGS officially shut off at 12:09 p.m. on November 18 when long-time employee Fred Larson opened the Unit 2 breakers. according to Green Tech Media.
Keep in mind that Monday's final act had been on the horizon since at least 2017 when officials at SRP said that in the past ten years, efforts have been made to extend the life of the NGS to 2019 when the lease with the Navajo Nation expired.
Coal silo at the end of the 17 mile conveyor. The other end of the conveyor is the Peabody Energy Ka...
Coal silo at the end of the 17 mile conveyor. The other end of the conveyor is the Peabody Energy Kayenta Mine, on Black Mesa. Electric-powered rail cars drive through the base of the silo to be loaded with coal, then travel 75 miles to the Navajo Power Plant near Page.
Center for Land Use and Interpretation
At that time, SRP also added that with the rapidly changing economics of the energy sector and falling natural gas prices, this has altered how coal-fired power plants compare to other forms of energy in the country, acknowledging that coal could not compete with LNG.
At that time, Peabody Energy supplied the coal being used at the NGS. In 2017, the coal company filed for bankruptcy protection and in August 2018 the mine supplying the plant closed after sending the final shipment of coal to NGS via an electric railroad that stretched 78 miles between the two locations.
SRP General Manager/CEO Mike Hummel said closing the plant was a difficult but necessary decision based on economics. “NGS will always be remembered as a coal-fired workhorse whose employees made it one of the safest and most reliable power plants in the nation,” Hummel said in an announcement of the closure.
More about Navaho Generating Plant, largest in West, Coalfired power, Shut down, Peabody energy
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