Peabody works to help rescue US West’s biggest coal plant

Peabody Energy Corp., the St. Louis-based coal company, has joined the fight to help save one of its biggest U.S. customers.

On Thursday, the mining giant released a report it commissioned showing the 2,250-megawatt, coal-fired Navajo power plant in Arizona, the largest in the western United States, is capable of making money through 2040, even in an era of cheap natural gas. It’s also offering lower-price coal for the plant. Meanwhile, the complex’s utility owners have said they may have to shut it later this decade because it will be cheaper to buy power on the open market.

Native Americans who work at the plant have turned its survival into a national issue, calling on President Donald Trump to make good on his promise to support coal and protect U.S. jobs. If retired, the complex would join the thousands of megawatts of coal-fired generation that have already shut from mounting costs, environmental regulations and cheap natural gas unleashed by the shale boom.

Thousands of jobs would be lost if the plant closes, a Peabody spokeswoman said. The U.S. Department of the Interior is coordinating talks in Washington next week to keep it running, she said.

The four utility owners of the plant are seeking an extension to their lease with the Navajo Nation so they can keep the plant running through 2019, when they can begin the decommissioning process.

Read more: Bloomberg


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