Two units at the Hayden coal-fired power plant in Colorado will close several years earlier than expected.
Co-owners Xcel Energy, PacifiCorp and Salt River Project announced earlier this month that Hayden unit 2 will be shut down in 2027 and unit 1 a year later. The original closure dates were 2030 and 2036.
“Hayden has been part of the Northwest Colorado community for 55 years. We are committed to supporting our employees and the region as we move forward with our clean energy transition in Colorado. We have a long track record of successfully transitioning coal plants we’ve retired,” said Alice Jackson, president of Xcel Energy—Colorado. “Our top priority is finding new roles for our workers and supporting the communities that have served us so well.”
The Colorado Public Utilities Commission will hear arguments on the closure plan in March. Environmentalists and some politicians have applauded the accelerated shutdown timeline, noting that the units are not competitive economically with cleaner energy resources.
Others, though, are worried about the move, citing job and property tax losses eventually. Plant co-owner Xcel said it will keep the entire 75-person workforce intact without layoffs, then manage the transition through attribution, retirements and retaining employees in other positions.
“We are working closely with the company to ensure our union members have ample employment opportunities to minimize impacts to them, their families and the communities we serve,” said Rich Meisinger, Business Manager of IBEW Local 111. “Our focus is to keep our members working while ensuring Colorado continues to maintain a safe and reliable electric grid.”
Unit 2 at Hayden added emissions controlling selective catalytic reduction equipment in 2016.
The Colorado power generation mix is still around 40 percent coal-fired, according to 2019 reports. Some 10 coal-fired units are scheduled to be closed over the next decade.
Hayden’s Unit 1 was commissioned in 1965, while unit 2 was completed 11 years later. The plant is located in Routt County.