31 May 2017

Catch 22 for Navajo Coal???

Studies on Navajo coal plant’s future poles apart
Posted by   /  May 28, 2017 
By Emery Cowan | Arizona Daily Sun
As tribal lawmakers, federal agencies and private industry continue to work out a plan for the future of Navajo Generating Station near Page, energy analysts have come up with their own assessments of the economic viability of the power plant. While they present a range of conclusions, many cast doubt on the future profitability of the coal-fired power plant.
Rebutting those bleaker predictions is a report commissioned by Peabody Energy, the sole supplier of coal to NGS. The report, produced by Navigant Consulting, contends that continuing operations at the plant would be economically viable through 2040 and is hundreds of millions of dollars cheaper than finding an alternative source of power into the future. . .  
A nearly polar opposite perspective comes from two other studies, one commissioned by the environmental nonprofit Sierra Club and another conducted by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, an organization that promotes sustainable energy. They contend Navigant's analysis had nearly $2 billion in errors and that the coal-fired power plant would actually need up to $2.4 billion in subsidies to continue operating until 2030.
Meanwhile, current plant operator Salt River Project has done its own analysis that concludes continuing to operate the power plant was a money-losing venture. The three other utility owners of the power plant came to the same conclusion, leading to their decision to end their stakes in NGS at the end of 2019. . . "
. . . The owners themselves are also facing hefty costs to decommission and remove the power plant. Hummel said initial estimates from engineers put the cost at $150 million. The owners are already looking at another $70 million in additional costs to keep the plant open until 2019. The utilities have stated that the alternative of continuing participation in NGS beyond 2019 would have cost their customers between $100 and $150 million annually.
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Meanwhile Bloomberg had this to say yesterday
States’ Appetite for Coal Shrinks, Except in Nebraska
By Yvette Romero
Prospects seem bleak for U.S. coal miners despite President Trump’s pledge to put them back to work. Coal’s share of U.S. power generation has been steadily eroding in the wake of clean-air regulations and the presence of cheap and plentiful natural gas. Nebraska, which opened two new coal-fired power plants in 2009 and 2011, is the only state that increased usage from 2006 to 2016. However, wind energy capabilities in Nebraska have increased, and it now generates more power from wind than all but three states, according to the American Wind Energy Association. 
Change: coal’s share of power generation by state 2006-16

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration
Methodology: Bloomberg ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia on the decrease in their reliance on coal to generate electricity. Usage is in megawatt hours (MWh), which is one million watts of power delivered in one hour. Rhode Island, Vermont and District of Columbia did not use coal from 2006 to 2016.
Online production: Christopher CannonChristopher Cannon and Cedric SamCedric Sam

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