The owners a massive coal-fired power plant in northern Arizona are considering options that include keeping it open but also closing it within the next few years, a spokesman for the plant’s operator said Wednesday.
Salt River Project spokesman Scott Harelson said officials of the power district recently met with Navajo Nation officials to discuss the Navajo Generating Station located on the reservation near Page.
The plant’s lease with the Navajo Nation expires Dec. 31, 2019, but the plant could be closed well before then if its owners take that course, Harelson said.
The plant employs 500 people, mostly Navajo, and is considered important to the local economy. A Peabody Energy coal mine that supplies the plant employs 430 people.
The federal Environmental Protection Administration announced in 2014 that the plant could either shut down one of its three 750-megawatt units or reduce power generation by an equal amount by 2020 to cut haze-causing emissions of nitrogen at places like the Grand Canyon. Additional emission control equipment would be needed by 2030 on the two remaining units.