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As coal fired plants are shuttered, Colorado River Basin states will save water

By Ron Dungan
Published: Tuesday, November 15, 2022 - 4:45pm
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Western utilities have been downsizing and shutting down coal-fired power plants in the face of climate change, a trend that is likely to continue and could have additional benefits.

A new report from ASU’s Kyl Center for Water Policy says there are 37 coal-fired plants and mines in the Colorado River Basin.

Together, they use more than 130,000 acre feet of water each year.

As the West converts to clean energy and uses less coal, that water can be put to other uses, said Bart Miller of Western Resource Advocates. The information will be useful to water managers moving forward.

“And what’s happened is the electric utilities have made dramatic changes in their plans," Miller said. "And so plants that people thought were going to be running for another three, four decades, are scheduled to close much sooner than that, and in fact several have already closed.”

The report said that half a dozen coal-fired units in Arizona are scheduled to shut down in the next decade.

Climate Change Water