Washington state, TransAlta agree to phase out coal by 2025

Washington is working to phase out its use of coal for energy. Under the terms of a new law signed on Friday, the state will phase out both of its coal boilers – the first in 2020 and the second in 2025. Since 2009, the state has been working with TransAlta, the state’s coal boiler to come to an agreement on greenhouse gas emissions standards requirements. This bill finalizes the terms agreement and lays out the pathway forward for a transition away from coal and to greener energy sources by 2025.

Washington requires energy producers to meet emissions performance standards, TransAlta, the state’s coal plant has been working with state officials to find ways to meet those standards without having to close completely. In order to meet the standard for new and modified power plants, the boilers must be shut down. In light of this, the company is examining new business options including a natural gas plant in the same area. Between now and 2025 when the second boiler is turned off, TransAlta will be implementing several pollution control measures.

According to the agreement, in 2013 TransAlta will use pollution control technology to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides at the plant. The plant is responsible for most of the nitrogen oxide in Washington. Nitrogen oxides are one of the causes of haze. The company will also contribute $30 million to a community investment fund focused on energy efficient economic development and $25 million to an energy technology transition fund to support innovative energy technology and companies in Washington.

“TransAlta is a progressive power company that strives to produce more electricity with less environmental impact, every day,” said TransAlta President and CEO Steve Snyder. “We are proud to play a leading role in this unique collaboration of industry, government, community and environmentalists to chart a new energy future for Washington State. With this bill, TransAlta will be able to continue powering this community with new investments in power production and new jobs.”

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