A study being released Thursday will warn of brownouts and blackouts if the largest coal plant in the West is shut down in favor of natural gas-fired electricity.
The study by consultants Quanta Technology and funded by coal giant Peabody was submitted to Arizona’s state utility commission. It supports keeping the Navajo Generating Station open or risk significant dangers from brownouts and blackouts in the region. Peabody supplies the station with coal.
The study shows that Arizona’s dependence on a few natural gas pipelines to supply the entire state would pose a key vulnerability to grid reliability if Arizona were to become overly reliant on natural gas power plants to provide the bulk of its electricity. It also looked at what the reliability hurdles would be if the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona unexpectedly closed.
The results would be bad on many levels, the study found.
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