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Tue, Jan. 21

1 coal generator at Cholla power plant to close in 2020

Cholla Power Plant (Photo: Arizona Public Service Co.)

Cholla Power Plant (Photo: Arizona Public Service Co.)

PHOENIX (AP) — Oregon-based PacifiCorp has announced it plans to close one of the three generators at the Cholla coal-fired power plant in northern Arizona by the end of this year.

The remaining two units are scheduled to close in 2025.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Republic reported Tuesday that the Coronado Generating Station coal-fired plant near St. Johns and the New Mexico border got a lifeline that should keep most of the 200 jobs there until 2032.

Cholla Unit 4 is a 395-megawatt coal-fired generator at the Cholla plant in the small town of Joseph City, Arizona.

It is operated by Arizona Public Service, the state's largest utility.

PacifiCorp, headquartered in Portland, provides power in Oregon, Washington, California, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.

The company originally planned to retire Cholla Unit 4 in 2035.

In a statement Monday, PacifiCorp officials said continued operation of Cholla Unit 4 was no longer economic for the company's customers beyond 2020 when compared to other resource alternatives.

"We are mindful that this decision impacts employees at APS, their families and communities," the PacifiCorp statement said. "We will work closely with APS to help their employees and the communities remain informed about the changes ahead."

Two months ago, the Navajo Generating Station near the Arizona-Utah line shut down in the latest closure in a shift away from coal and toward renewable energy and cheaper power.

The 2,250-megawatt, three-unit plant served customers in the West for nearly 50 years but had long been a target of environmentalists, who argued it polluted the air and contributed to health problems.

"Utilities all across the West are realizing that their coal-heavy fleets are being outpriced by our renewable resources and this reality is spreading to Arizona with the decommissioning of NGS last year and now Cholla 4," Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club's Grand Canyon chapter, said in a statement Tuesday.

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