July 3, 2018 Read More →

Tono Solar project taking shape at closed TransAlta coal mine in Washington

Clean Technica:

The TransAlta power plant’s three tall stacks still generate electricity from coal. But coal-fired energy will only be a memory at TransAlta by 2025—with a first burner to cease operation sooner, in 2020. It’s all part of Washington state’s larger plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to 1990 levels in less than 2 years from now. Yes, the power plant, located in Centralia, contributes 10% of the state’s total greenhouse gases — as much as the emissions from 1.75 million cars. But what will happen when the power plant’s smokestacks shut down forever? How will the state offset the loss of 1,340 megawatts of energy?

Once a terraced, open-to-the-sky strip mine—the state’s largest coal pit—TransAlta is in the process of repurposing 1,000 acres of the former mine site to a solar farm.

The Tono Solar project involves the construction of a 180 MW solar power plant on 405 hectares of land. It includes the construction of a substation and related infrastructure, the installation of solar panels and transformers, and the laying of transmission lines.

Tono Solar, which is expected to start producing clean energy as soon as late 2020, won’t fully make up for the power generated by the Centralia coal-fired plant—it’s expected to provide 180 megawatts of electricity. Utilities and corporate buyers are willing to buy electricity from local providers like Tono Solar.

In 2006, the TransAlta coal mine was the last in Washington state to be closed. The coal mining terraforming was so severe that the former town site is currently dominated by two massive ponds.

TransAlta says that it plans to completely eliminate coal from its portfolio by 2030.

More: Washington state coal-fired plant converts barren landscape into solar farm

 

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