The Navajo coal-fired power plant is shutting down. The plant and its associated mine have provided millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs for the Navajo and Hopi tribes and local communities, as well as electricity for Southwest cities. The plant’s private utility owners voted to shut it down some 25 years ahead of schedule. Economics, not regulations, is driving the plant’s closure; coal is no longer the best energy bargain.
A coalition of Navajo groups is pushing the plant owners to replace lost electricity generation by building new solar and wind plants on the reservations. This could become a model for job creation and the transition to a renewable energy future.
Donald Trump is dismantling most of President Obama’s climate change agenda. The stated objectives are to increase the nation’s “energy independence” and to restore thousands of lost coal mining jobs. But the United States already relies mostly on domestic sources of energy. And while the order might cause a temporary increase in coal production, economics and mechanization dictate a dim future for coal jobs.
Trump the “businessman” should recognize the positive business case for renewable energy and fulfill his promise to coal miners for real job creation.
Steven Benner, Boise