Despite the remaining political rhetoric, the energy transition is well underway and our nation is moving away from powering its systems with fossil-fueled power plants.
This transitioning involves retiring gigawatts and gigawatts of coal plants. Each individual 500, 1000 or more MW plant is a massive heavy industrial operation usually with significant number of employees to manage it. Each plant provides a significant number of megawatt hours, which may or may need to be replaced after retirement. In addition to energy, many coal plants have taken their place as the default provider of grid services, or at least insurer of grid stability, where they live. These technical issues need to be managed.
In addition, there is a reality of community and individual impacts that come with the loss of a major industrial coal plant, especially in rural areas in which the plant has served as a key or even sole economic driver for the area.
This week, Amanda Ormond, Managing Director of Western Grid Group, joins me to discuss the technical and some of the people issues related to coal plant retirements. We focus specifically on the Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona, which provides a case study with several similarities and unique attributes as compared to retiring coal plants across the West.