After years of Xcel Energy arguing that there’s no conceivable way they would shut down the coal-burning generator at Valmont Station east of Boulder (in part because the boiler is one of the most efficient in the utility’s system), the company announced Friday, that actually they will shut the plant down by 2017.
For activists who have staged a number of protests at the plant over the last couple of years, the announcement was good news. (But better news, some said, would have been an announcement that the plant, which spews 44 pounds of mercury into the air every year, would close immediately.)
The three natural gas-fired generators a the plant will continue operating.
Greenies are fighting a proposed expansion of coal mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, which would feed new coal-burning power plants like the one planned by Xcel Energy outside of Pueblo.
This out today from the Associated Press:
Environmentalists are urging people to oppose the proposed expansion of Wyoming coal mines. They say the mines are the primary source of large amounts of greenhouse gas.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management estimates that nearly 14 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions originates from coal mined from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.
Wyoming produces more coal than any other state by far. Most is burned in power plants and scientists say such plants contribute to climate change by releasing carbon dioxide.
Xcel Energy is planning to crank up a new coal-burning generator at its Comanche power plant outside of Pueblo. The new unit — which is four times the size of Boulder’s Valmont coal plant — will burn about 2 million tons of Powder River coal every year.
Boulder’s Leslie Glustrom, founder of Clean Energy Action, has been fighting the Comanche expansion tooth and nail. Check out the fact sheet she made up on the new coal-burning unit at CleanEnergyAction.org.
BOULDER, Colo. — In January 1923, when Western Light and Power company announced plans to spend $4 million to build a coal-burning power plant on the shores of what was then Weisenhorn Lake east of Boulder, locals were delighted.
The Daily Camera called the decision to construct the Valmont power plant “the greatest thing for Boulder that has happened in years,” as it would bring good jobs and ensure that the town would not be overlooked as Colorado continued to grow.
Today the brick walls of the 85-year-old building are covered with creeping ivy, tall trees quietly line the power station’s drive — and Boulder residents are decidedly less delighted about having a coal plant in their back yard. Read more