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Feds approve 25-year extension for mining, burning coal at Navajo plant

Federal officials approved a multi-year deal last week to allow expanded mining of coal on Navajo lands and continued burning of it at the nearby Four Corners Power Plant, along with other measures.

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6 comments on this story

Jul 21, 2015, 7:18 pm
-1 +1

There is no such thing as clean coal. And will all the full sunshine in Arizona there is no excuse for burning dirty fossil fuels

Jul 22, 2015, 11:37 am
-1 +0

@Cactus Dave Sure there is, everyday the sun goes down and current energy storage technology is not efficient enough to realistically hold enough power to last 10-14 hours.

Jul 22, 2015, 11:48 am
-0 +2

@Kyle V.,

Plants like Solana use heat stored in molten salt, which can generate power for days even if it’s cloudy, and after the sun goes down: World’s largest solar plant slated for Gila Bend

Jul 22, 2015, 2:21 pm
-1 +0

@Dylan Smith

I wasn’t saying it isn’t possible but it would take 34 Solana plants to generate enough power for all the households in Arizona. Given that household electricity use only accounts for about 25% of the electricity used in this state that means it would take approximately 136 Solana plants to power the entire state.

To put that into some perspective currently Arizona has 26 power plants,14 hydroelectric dams, 1 wind farm, and the Solana plant. So even in one of the best places in the world for solar power generation it still doesn’t seem practical to shift to 100% solar. Yet.

Where I got my data:

2,380,990 Households:  https://suburbanstats.org/population/how-many-people-live-in-arizona

28% Electricity use: http://www.eia.gov/state/?sid=AZ#tabs-2

# of Power Plants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Arizona

Jul 23, 2015, 10:32 am
-0 +0

@Cactus Dave That is pretty impressive but still most of that seems to be home installations so there will be little if any storage capability. It is a great start but without a storage mechanism like the Solana plant or giant batteries they still need power plants burning some sort of fossil fuels. We’ll probably get to the point where we no longer need to burn fossil fuels for electricity but that point is probably several decades away.

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