Coal Communities Transition
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The electric power industry is undergoing a significant transition driven by changes in technology, economics, and customer demands. Like the rest of the industry, Salt River Project (SRP) is taking action to significantly reduce its carbon footprint while maintaining the ability to provide to our customers and communities a reliable, sustainable, and affordable supply of water and power. To enable this transition, SRP anticipates retiring its coal-fired power plants in the coming years. SRP’s plan includes the following:
- SRP will exit its ownership of coal plants in Colorado in the mid- to late-2020s. The community transition for those plants will be led by the operators of those plants with input from SRP.
- The Four Corners Power Plant is scheduled to close no later than 2031. SRP will work with APS, the operator of that plant, and the other owners on the transition plan for that plant.
- SRP has announced that the Coronado Generating Station (CGS) is scheduled to close no later than 2032 and will begin seasonal operations in 2025.
- SRP anticipates closing its share of Springerville Generating Station in the years following the closure of Coronado.
- Throughout SRP’s transition away from coal, SRP is supporting those communities impacted by the plant closures. SRP is working with local stakeholders to help these communities as they work toward developing sustainable and strategic economies. This website provides additional details regarding the transition planning.
Coal Communities Transition (CCT) effort
With the announced closures of Coronado and units 1 and 2 at Springerville generating stations over the next many years, Apache County, and its communities, including St. Johns, Springerville and Eagar, are beginning to prepare for the transition away from coal. The mission of the Coal Communities Transition effort is to support the communities impacted by Apache County coal plant closures as they develop sustainable and strategic economies.
Exploring Future Energy Uses for the CGS Site
For decades, St. Johns has been a coal power generation community. Since SRP’s January 2022 announcement that CGS will close no later than 2032, community members have asked if the CGS site could have a generating future after coal. The transition from traditional fossil fuels, like coal, requires studying clean and sustainable energy alternatives. As part of its business planning, SRP is conducting a CGS Repurposing Study. The study includes analyzing various energy generation technologies to determine which are compatible with the CGS site and SRP’s mission to sustainably provide cost-effective and reliable power. Some of the technologies SRP anticipates researching include hydrogen generation, long duration storage, renewables paired with storage, and low or zero-carbon technologies.
"Estimating the impacts of reduced operations at, and the closures of, Springerville and Coronado Generating Stations" by Dr. Anthony Evans, Staff Director and Senior Research Fellow at the Seidman Research Institute & Dr. Dennis Hoffman, Director of the L. William Seidman Research Institute at the W. P. Carey School of Business at ASU.
“Benefits of Expanding Broadband Infrastructure in Apache County” by Jim Rounds, President at Rounds Consulting Group, Inc.
Transportation, Education and Workforce Development Study – by Rounds Consulting Group
CGS Repurposing Study – In progress.Technology Screening to determine compatibility with CGS site and supply chain and resource technical readiness. Some of the technologies included in the study are the following:
- Carbon Capture
- Energy Storage
- Advanced Reactors
Federal Interagency Working Group
The recently created Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization reviewed domestic and international models for economic revitalization, compiled recommendations from advocacy groups and academics, and sought guidance from representatives of energy communities. Stakeholders included labor unions, community development organizations, local, regional and tribal governments, the private sector, and philanthropic interests.
Federal assistance programs
The Interagency Working Group created the centralized clearinghouse that features billions of dollars in existing federal funding opportunities. This government-wide list identifies resources available to Energy Communities applying to fund infrastructure, environmental remediation, job creation and community revitalization efforts.
Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project and Tucson Electric Power Grant Assistance Program
Representatives of communities impacted by the closure of coal-fired generating stations have expressed the need for assistance with the infrastructure grants application process, such as hiring grant writers or commissioning economic impact studies. Often, impacted communities pass on important federal and state infrastructure grant opportunities due to the lack of funding to prepare their applications. In response to this need, Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project and Tucson Electric Power developed the Utilities Grant Program to provide funding assistance to the impacted communities. The total amount of the joint funding available for distribution is $1 million.
CGS closure employment impact
Before the final closure of CGS, the workforce for both salaried full-time staff and hourly employees will be downsized. As the plant moves toward seasonal operations in 2025, the workforce will be reduced by 30%–40%. This reduction will be accomplished primarily through natural attrition, as employees retire or take positions elsewhere in the company.
Apache County coal communities transition
Total Funding Secured to Date: $12M
- The Arizona Commerce Authority awarded Apache County broadband carrier Commnet $9.7M for broadband network deployment.
- Broadband Carrier Commnet contributed $1.7M in broadband grant matching funds.
- TEP contributed $300k in broadband grant matching funds.
- SRP contributed $300k in broadband grant matching funds.
- SRP contributed $50k in education grants to St. Johns and Round Valley High Schools.