Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

cost of wind power

Clean Power

Another One Bites The Dust: Cost Of Wind Power Cancels Kansas Coal Facility Expansion

The plunging cost of wind power has forced the cancellation of a long planned expansion to the coal power generating facility in Holcomb, Kansas.

The Mouth That Roared, aka Donald Trump, promised unemployed coal miners they would soon be back to work. But even the #FakePresident and all his bombast cannot change the laws of economics. Big corporations don’t care a whit about doing good deeds (or people either, for that matter) — they care about doing well financially, and that means profits, profits, and more profits.

For a decade or more, plans have been underway to expand the coal-fired electrical generating station in Holcomb, Kansas, owned by Sunflower Electric Power. But now, it appears those plans are being taken off the table, thanks to the declining cost of wind power.

cost of wind power

Why the change? Did Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the principal backer of the expansion proposal, suddenly wake up one morning and decide it was tired of poisoning its customers with lethal emissions from the plant? Hardly. Did rigorous new regulations imposed by a cruel federal government make the difference? Guess again. What did the plan in was good old-fashioned economics. The price of coal and building more coal-fired generating facilities is simply higher than the cost of renewables, especially wind power.

It’s not like Tri-State didn’t try its damnedest to make its coal plant expansion happen. It was one of many utilities that objected vociferously to President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. It even won a key victory in federal court last spring, after which it called the expansion “perhaps the most likely prospect for a major new coal plant in the United States.” But in the end, it all came to naught, as the economics could no longer be ignored.

In an August 14 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tri-State acknowledged it now believes “the probability of us entering into construction for the Holcomb Expansion as remote.” It now proposes to write off more than $93 million it spent planning for the expansion and trying to get it approved. After a meeting August 10, Tri-State board member Carl Trick II said, “The board has voted to get out of Holcomb. So there’s the possibility that we could sell it, but I don’t know who would want to buy it. I don’t think there’s going to be any coal plants built. Holcomb is over,” he closed.

The Tri-State board of directors is composed of one representative from each of the 43 electric cooperatives in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and New Mexico that purchase electricity from Tri-State.

In March, investor service Moody’s published a report showing that windy states like Kansas are particularly well situated to benefit from the declining costs of wind energy. In addition to dramatic declines in renewable energy costs, energy efficiency improvements mean that electricity demand has not grown as utilities expected, and natural gas prices have remained low, discouraging new investments in coal.

Lee Boughey, a spokesperson for Tri-State, says “much has changed over the past 10 years since the [Holcomb] project was originally proposed. Tri-State has been able to meet the current and projected electric needs of its members by adding other generation resources, including renewable and natural gas resources.” Tri-State has added nearly 470 megawatts of renewable energy resources since 2008, and plans to add another 75 megawatts of wind generation later this year.

“It appears Tri-State is finally realizing that new coal expenditures are a losing proposition,” said Zach Pierce, senior campaign representative for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “The costs of wind and solar have dropped so sharply that Tri-State customers will benefit from a planned transition away from all coal as the fuel becomes increasingly uncompetitive. This is the right moment for the utility to listen to the growing demands of its member co-ops in Colorado to allow for more localized clean energy solutions that will lower costs and stimulate new job growth.”

Even the Koch brothers with all their money can’t fight the benefits that renewable energy adds to a utility company’s bottom line.

Source: Think Progress

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


You May Also Like


Colorado has raised its tax credit for the purchase of an electric vehicle from $2000 to $5000 as it seeks to add more EVs...

Clean Power

The massive new SunZia wind energy transmission line is closing in on the finish line, ESG or not.

Clean Transport

A new study shows that the Advanced Clean Cars II Program can bring over $95 billion in benefits to Colorado.


30% of US car dealers tell the Sierra Club they refuse to sell electric cars. Pretty soon they won't have to because they will...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.