[Update] The West’s largest coal plant’s smokestacks will be destroyed Friday


In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Arizona’s Navajo Generating Station coal plant’s smokestacks have been toppled — VIDEO.
  • The Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance releases principles to accelerate US commercial fleet electrification.
  • UnderstandSolar is a free service that links you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates. Tesla now offers price matching, so it’s important to shop for the best quotes. Click here to learn more and get your quotes. — *ad.

Coal smokestacks topple

Update12/18: The Navajo Generating Station smokestacks were demolished this morning. Here’s a video that captures the moment they fell:

EcoFlight/Jonathan Kloberdanz

December 16: The 2,400-MW Navajo Generating Station (NGS) in northeastern Arizona — the largest coal plant west of the Mississippi River — shut down over a year ago, in November 2019, as Electrek reported.

And this Friday, December 18, the 775-foot-tall smokestacks at the NGS will be demolished with explosives as part of the decommissioning process at around 8:30 a.m.

The smokestack demolition is a symbol of how dramatically the energy landscape has shifted in a few short years. Several months prior to announcing in February 2017 that they would close NGS by the end of 2019, its utility owners were in federal court arguing for the right to run the plant into the 2040s.

In just three years, Arizona’s two biggest utilities — Arizona Public Service (APS) and Tucson Electric Power — have committed to abandoning all of their coal assets and working toward 100% carbon-free electricity. On top of that, the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates the utilities, has also pledged to reach net zero by 2050.

However, much still remains to be done to ensure a just and equitable transition for the Navajo and Hopi. While APS proposed $144 million in November to support affected tribes and surrounding communities in the transition from coal and toward green energy, other utilities have not yet stepped up to offer help in the form of funding.

Navajo and Hopi community leaders recently issued a report card that evaluated the state of the transition:

  • Ending harmful coal extraction and burning of coal: B-
  • Securing corporate accountability with transition funding support from utilities: C
  • Addressing land and water reclamation and restoration: F
  • Developing clean energy projects that are in harmony with sacred tribal values: C+ 
  • Ensuring that community voices and community benefits are prioritized: D

You can access details of the report card here.

US commercial fleet electrification push

A group of 21 major global and US-based companies, including Amazon, AT&T, Best Buy, DHL, IKEA, Siemens, National Grid, and Uber, have banded together and called themselves the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance (CEVA).

The group is led by the sustainability nonprofit Ceres. CEVA was formed in January 2020 to accelerate the business transition to EVs in all vehicle segments, from light-duty passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks.

CEVA yesterday released its first set of cross-sectoral fleet electrification principles that provide guidance on what auto and truck manufacturers, regulators, policymakers, and utilities must do to advance the commercial EV market.

This timing of this action to decarbonize the US transport sector is no coincidence, with the election win and upcoming inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, who has pledged support for electric vehicles and vowed to rejoin the Paris Agreement on the first day of his presidency (cc Pete Buttigieg, who Biden has chosen for transport secretary).

Here are the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance’s principles, and full details on each principle can be found here:

  1. Greater variety and volume of zero-emission vehicle model options
  2. Access to cost-effective charging infrastructure and flexible rates
  3. More transparency on new model release timing and availability
  4. Upfront cost parity with ICE vehicles
  5. Integrated access to renewable energy
  6. Improved coordination with and support from electric power companies and utility regulators
  7. Strategically sited and widely available charging infrastructure
  8. Technology interoperability and streamlined charging standards
  9. Employee commute and regional transportation decarbonization

Badar Khan, the president of National Grid, US, said:

To fight climate change, we must address the transportation sector. That starts with companies like us electrifying our own fleets, thereby reducing GHG emissions in our everyday business, and helping our customers do the same.

We will convert to a 100% electric fleet by 2030 for our light-duty vehicles while also pursuing the replacement of our medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with zero carbon alternatives.

Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic via azcentral.com

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