Unit 1’s transition manager meets with Craig officials | CraigDailyPress.com

Unit 1’s transition manager meets with Craig officials

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Tri-State Generation & Transmission's new transition team manager, Rick Thompson, meets with community leaders Thursday, including members of the Craig City Council.

Meet Rick Thomson, the man who will help Craig prepare for Unit 1's closure in the next nine years.

Thomson and other energy officials were in town Thursday to meet with Moffat County residents to vet concerns about the recent announcement that Craig Station's Unit 1 will close in 2025.

"We're touching base with a lot of the movers and shakers in town to put some perspective on some of the concerns," said Tri State Generation & Transmission Senior External Affairs Advisor Drew Kramer.

In September, Tri State announced it would close Unit 1 in Craig, along with Tri-State's coal-fired power plant, Nucla Station, and eliminate coal production at the New Horizon Mine in Nucla by 2022. The closures are due to the Colorado Visibility and Regional Haze State Implementation Plan.

Thomson has worked for Tri-State for five years, and his new title is transition team manager for decommissioning Unit 1 and the coal mine and power plant in Nucla.

A few Craig City Council members met with Thompson Thursday to receive a briefing about what's next for the city and Unit 1.

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Thompson said Craig and Moffat County are ahead of the economic diversity game, having created numerous plans to diversify, where Nucla has no diversifications plan in place.

"I think one of the things we've talked about that is really important is when you look at what's going on, timing wise, we're looking at 2025 for you guys, but we're looking at 2022 for Nucla and New Horizon, and we're looking at total closures there, so the impact there is significant," Thomson said.

Tri-State's plan is to have three transition teams in place — employee, community and decommissioning — with Thomas the team manager.

"My job is to make sure the right hand and the left hand know what's going on,” he said. “We're going to try to assemble transition teams, hopefully by the end of this year, and then move forward from there.”

The transition will help assist plant and coal mine workers as the closure of Unit 1 and Nucla's mine and power plant come to fruition.

Some city council members asked Thompson if the presidential election will reverse or change the upcoming closures.

He noted that the Clean Power Plan will most likely not look the same way it does today, as President-elect Donald Trump will nominate a Republican Supreme Court justice who will help change the plan's course.

For now, Tri-State will continue planning as if the Clean Power Plan will remain the same, Thompson said.

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @noelleleavitt.