Three coal-burning power plants in Colorado face orders to close early. Their owners aren’t happy about it.

Tri-State, Xcel and Platte River Power had the closures slated for 2030. But Colorado air quality regulators say it must be done earlier to meet greenhouse gas targets.

Mark Jaffe / Colorado Sun
Tri-State Generation and Transmission’s Craig Station garnered national honors in 2018 for projects designed to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions.
Craig Press File

2030. But Colorado air quality regulators say it must be done earlier to meet greenhouse gas targets.

Colorado air quality regulators on Friday moved to order three coal-fired power plants to close by the end of 2028 to cut regional haze and meet Colorado greenhouse reduction targets.

The operators of the three plants had all said they would voluntarily close their units by 2030, but the Air Quality Control Commission, in a preliminary decision, mandated that they close by the end of 2028. A final vote will take place in December.

The three plants are Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association’s Craig Unit 3 in Moffat County; the Platte River Power Authority’s Rawhide plant north of Fort Collins; and the Colorado Springs Utilities’ Martin Drake Power Plant.

“The commission decision was significant,” said Michael Hiatt, an attorney with the environmental law group Earthjustice. “The benefits are going to be big — cleaner air, saving Coloradans money and helping to meet the 2030 greenhouse gas goals.”

The proposal to speed the closures came from the Sierra Club and the National Parks Conservation Association, which also wanted the commission to order the closure of two units at Xcel Energy’s Hayden Generating Station in Routt County, which is not slated for final closure until 2036.

 The commissioners, however, said they did not have enough information to rule on Hayden and asked the state Air Pollution Control Division to come back with more data with the goal of seeking an earlier closure.

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun article, click here.

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