[update 10-23-15: A spokesman for APS says they believe this report is in error. It's been two months since I first heard that the action was 'imminent' so it seems likely that I was misinformed about plans for sequestration.]
Our sources say that Arizona Public Service (APS), owner of 3 of the generating units at the Four Corners coal-fired power plant in northwest New Mexico [right, credit SRP], will invest $800 million to $1 billion to capture the carbon dioxide from the plants smokestacks for two of the units, and bury it permanently in deep geologic units (sequestration).
APS reportedly briefly community leaders in advance of making a public announcement.
The geologic sequestration option would allow the plant to continue to burn coal to generate electricity. Coal for the plant comes from the Navajo coal field near Farmington, which was purchased by the Navajo Nation last year. The power plant also sits on Navajo lands, and together they are major revenue sources for the Tribe.
If confirmed, this will be one only a handful of full scale operations of geologic sequestration anywhere in the world. It could have implications for other coal-fired plants in the region. [Right, model for geologic sequestration. Credit, Plains CO2 Reduction Partnership]
Last month the US Dept. of Interior issued a record of decision that extends the lease on the plant by 25 years and allows for the expansion of the Navajo coal mine. The operators also agreed to fund $160 million on equipment to reduce emissions. Officials say continued operation of the plant and coal field will provide $40
million to $60 million per year in direct economic benefits to the
Three other, less efficient units of the Four Corners plant are planned for closure.