Another Arizona coal power plant unit sets date to close

Navajo Generating Station - near Page, Arizona jejim / Shutterstock

By Cole Lauterbach | The Center Square

The Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association announced on Friday the planned closure of a coal-fired power plant in eastern Arizona.

The utility said in a document dated Dec. 1 that it will seek to replace the base-level power provided by Springerville’s Station Unit 3 with 1,250 megawatts of renewable energy once it shuts down in 2031.

The company is seeking federal revenue from a provision of the Inflation Reduction Act to offset any potential increase in ratepayer costs during the shutdown. Tri-State worked with the nonprofit Western Resource Advocates in planning for the closure. The power plant in eastern Arizona has a 1,765-megawatt capacity from its four units. Tri-State owns Unit 3, while Units 1 and 2 are owned by Tucson Electric Power. Those two units are planned to close in 2027 and 2032. The closure announcement of Unit 3 comes decades before it’s projected lifespan would end in 2066.

WRA is now calling for the fourth unit in Springerville to announce a closure target.

“Tri-State’s proposed plan shows that with the right approach, shifting to renewable energy is possible in a timely, reliable, and economically beneficial way,” said Alex Routhier, Ph.D., a senior policy advisor at WRA. “With Tri-State’s announcement, Arizona’s Salt River Project is now the only owner of Springerville without an announced retirement date for this high-cost, pollution-intensive coal-fired power plant. We encourage SRP to follow Tri-State’s lead and seriously evaluate continued reliance on coal-fired power from Springerville.”

Larry Behrens, communications director of Power the Future, said the closure of a reliable energy source and high-paying jobs shouldn’t be cause for celebration.

“Climate elitists are never more happy than when they’re destroying energy jobs and making it impossible for working families to get by, so it’s no surprise they’re celebrating,” he told The Center Square. “What advocates laughably call ‘clean energy’ is failing on a massive scale and often leaving taxpayers and ratepayers to holding the bag. Shutting down reliable power that has worked for decades to replace it with inferior Chinese-made energy products is a tragedy, not cause for celebration.”

He said the closure plans wouldn’t work without either an influx of tax dollars.

“No doubt, advocates of this closure can’t get their plans off the ground without a massive influx of taxpayer dollars which tells you this is another failed scheme. The only people who celebrate closures like this are those who line their pockets by destroying American energy, and then hop on a private jet.”

Tri-State also announced the planned closure of a plant in Colorado.

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.