Trump administration wants to force companies to keep open an unprofitable coal plant.

Trump administration wants to force companies to keep open an unprofitable coal plant.

This is amazing. Republicans are interested in free market policies unless it means that their beloved coal plants shut down. This plant is not profitable and the companies who own it want to close it.

This is a perfect place for a bunch of solar panels. Imagine the amount of power that could be generated with solar panels and batteries to store the excess power.

But of course Trump will never allow that because he needs to keep his promise to big coal.

Frank99 | 26 October 2017

That generation plant fills both Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon with haze. I will not be sad to see it shut down; anything Trump does to delay the scheduled shutdown will be a disappointment.

Of course, the Navajo Nation really needs it to stay open - it's about the only source of jobs in that corner of the country, and ends up providing about 20% of their annual budget.

But you're absolutely right about Solar - I can't imagine a better place for a Solar Plant.

SCCRENDO | 26 October 2017

We need to start creating clean jobs for those who will lose jobs as we move away from fossil fuels. But these fossil fuel jobs need to disappear sooner rather than later. What else do you expect from that douchebag Trump???

MitchP85D | 26 October 2017

I read the well-written comprehensive article, even though it does have a left-of-center slant. Here is what Lew Reed is ignoring, and Frank has alluded to:

"The trouble with closing the plant and the Peabody-owned Kayenta mine is it will lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs for Navajo and Hopi tribes and an end to royalty payments. Nearly 90 percent of the estimated 800 workers at the power station and coal mine are Native American."

So, there is more to this story than just Trump taking care of his coal mining buddies! This of course is how the left wants to portray the situation.

SCCRENDO | 26 October 2017

@Welfare_Mitch. Liberals do not want to take away jobs from indigenous people. However creating or keeping jobs that damage the environment for all is not the answer. We need to covert those jobs into clean energy jobs.

How about us opening up a polluting factory or building a dam next to your flooded Houston house to create jobs. I guess you wouldn't care because you can claim your welfare cheese after the next flood and you presently have health insurance not taken away yet by Trump and the Republicans to pay for your health problems due to the factory.

MitchP85D | 26 October 2017

Your convoluted thinking has no basis in reality Captain Planet. For a factory or dam to be built next to my home, thousands of other homes will have to be dismantled in the process. The county and state would not permit such a thing because of the property tax revenue they receive from the homeowners.

Plus, what makes you lord and ruler over the indigenous people? It is obvious to this libertarian that you are substituting your will over others because of your assumed superiority over them!

You didn't think that one through too well Captain Planet!

Frank99 | 26 October 2017

The Navajo Nation (and other Native tribes) have a lot of problems, and closing the coal mine/generating station is simply one of them at the moment. They have a 50% unemployment rate, 40% of households below the poverty level, and (as a result, you might say) a huge problem with drugs and alcohol. Long term, they need help figuring out what their future is going to be, and getting on their feet, more than they need a coal mine. But the coal mine is

I guess I just don't see the left/right slant here - the generating station is owned by four electric utilities, the electricity coming from it costs much more than electricity from other sources, so they're making a business decision to close it down. You might be able to make the argument that this is a liberal action - taxing remote populations (the ratepayers of APS/SRP/etc) to prop up an obsolete business in order to keep people employed. Or you could make the argument that this is just more corporate welfare being shoveled in the direction of Peabody Energy at the expense of those remote ratepayers, and Navajo workers keeping their jobs is just a necessary side effect.

Earl and Nagin ... | 26 October 2017

Wow! sounds like a political football that I wouldn't want to go anywhere near - from any political leaning.

Goose | 27 October 2017

Politics aside, I have seen coal fired plants in the Midwest converted to natural gas - not green, but preferable to coal. Why doesn’t this administration pursue that kind of strategy.

SCCRENDO | 27 October 2017

@goose. Politics aside. How about clean solar panels

Goose | 27 October 2017

@SC ... yeah i get it and I’m board ... but with this group in the WH I’m thinking the only way to get to no coal is to convert to gas

Baby steps

Frank99 | 27 October 2017

Goose -
The power plant is a LONG way from any sources of natural gas. The coal mine is located fairly close to a rail spur, used to ferry the coal to the plant, and only about 90 miles from the plant.

Goose | 27 October 2017

I understand

I guess E&N had it right

Tesla2018 | 27 October 2017

We need the coal plants open so that Trump will have something to put in the stockings of the swamp monsters he is trying to get rid of.

reed_lewis | 28 October 2017

If they were to install solar panels and batteries, they could generate around the same amount of power for much less ongoing cost with absolutely no environmental impact on the environment. Plus the locals could have jobs working in clean energy, installer more solar panels, etc. everywhere.

Seems to me that keeping open a power plant that costs more than everywhere else and will continue to cost more is not a good business decision.

But of course or current idiot in chef does not understand that. He is more concerned with a few coal miners, and less concerned with the millions of people who are negatively affected by his policies. In his mind he does not care about people not having health insurance and getting sick from coal plant emissions.

There is a Star Trek quote that I think is very appropriate here: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Many more people pay more money for electricity and are exposed to more pollution from this plant compared to the few who work at it.

reed_lewis | 28 October 2017

@Frank99 - If you look at the map, the is a single rail line that goes from the mine to the plant.

SCCRENDO | 28 October 2017

ANy week excuse is used to keep cola plants open, We have severe worldwide environmental problems and the whole planet needs to come on board. There may be some valid reasons for continued fossil fuel use. But we are at the point that we need to pull out all stops. It’s like trying to justify using lead pipes in Flint Michigan because it was economically more viable for someone.

Frank99 | 28 October 2017

if you ignore the 17 mile long conveyor belt, yes. That's what I meant by "fairly close".

The whole Navajo Nation would be an excellent spot for solar. The air is generally dry and clear. The houses are spread out, generally with a mile or more between them, and there are no trees to block the sun. Currently there are electric lines strung to each house; I've got to imagine that maintenance is a nightmare (the area is subject to high winds (> 60 mph) during summer thunderstorms), and service is likely both expensive and unreliable. Put a solar array and PowerWall on each house, take down the lines and poles, and have an even more beautiful landscape than they do now.

SCCRENDO | 28 October 2017
bryan.whitton | 29 October 2017

@Frank99 Just a reminder, Tesla isn't the only company that makes PV systems that allow for self consumption. Darfon, the company that I work at, currently makes a very sweet hybrid inverter that works very well. We provide NCM battery packs and I am currently testing and certifying some very nice LFP batteries that are built in Reno NV., American sourced. To get more information


Frank99 | 29 October 2017

I agree, Bryan. Tesla gets a lot of press because they're, well, Tesla, but they're certainly not the first or only company building home/commercial battery packs.

SamO | 30 October 2017

Tesla gets credit because:

They are the single largest solar installer in the United States.

They are the single largest battery installer in the world.

They keep setting records for pack size and worldwide capacity.

They keep announcing creative and difficult projects, microgrids and large emergency systems.


Even with Tesla's the largest player, there is almost unlimited demand for systems like yours. Tesla cannot monopolize this growing market. Can you give me a quote for the inverter?

reed_lewis | 30 October 2017

@SCCRENDO - I hope that they keep 'cola' plants open. I do not know what I would do without my Diet Coke! ;-)

But you are completely correct. The current administration is more interested in keeping a power source running that cost more than other solutions simply in the name of keeping them running.

Earl and Nagin ... | 30 October 2017

Adding to what @Samo said:
Tesla, from the beginning has focused on achieving the end game of economic sustainability in addition to energy sustainability.
Musk, himself, directly said something to the effect that the world doesn't need another fast, exotic supercar. They need an affordable car that doesn't depend on oil. The Roadster, the Model S, and the Model X are just necessary steps to get to the Bluestar (Now known as the Model III), which is affordable to a huge number of people.
The Gigafactory wasn't built because nobody knows how to make a battery factory. It was built to make batteries cheaply so they can actually do some good.

SamO | 31 October 2017

And they are zombie proofing the Supercharger Network.