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Valmont Station

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Valmont Station is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by Xcel Energy near Boulder, Colorado.

The plant stopped burning coal in March 2017. Gas-fired generation at the plant will continue.[1]

Location

The undated satellite photo below shows the plant east of Boulder.

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Retrement

In November 2010, Xcel said it was considering shutting down its 192 MW Unit 5 at he power station, which is coal-fired, as part of a plan to cooperate with the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act that had been signed into law by then-Gov. Bill Ritter.[2] The unit is planned for retirement in 2017,[3] and was retired in March 2017.[1]

Citizen action against Valmont

July 14, 2009: Residents protest Valmont at public hearing, push for conversion

Xcel and the City of Boulder are in negotiations to renew Valmont Station's contract with the city. The agreement must be renewed every five years and is slated to expire in August 2010.[4] Many Boulder residents are pushing for the plant to stop burning coal and either shut down entirely or convert to cleaner energy.[5][6]

On July 14, 2009, the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission held a hearing to solicit public comment on renewing the plant's permit. More than 300 people turned out to oppose the plant at a rally before the meeting. About 50 people addressed the Commission, asking its members to deny the permit because the plant emits more than 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.[7]

However, the Air Quality Control Commission disregarded the public comments in opposition to renewing the permit and gave the plant the go-ahead to continue its operations. The Commission ignored an Executive Order by Governor Bill Ritter to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the state.[8]

November 18, 2009: Demonstrators protest Cherokee and Valmont Stations: Denver, CO

Protesters dressed as clowns visited Colorado Governor Ritter's office to urge him to "stop clowning around when it comes to confronting global warming." Environmental groups are opposed to Xcel Energy's request to renew expired permits at its Cherokee and Valmont Stations and want the state to pursue clean energy options instead. New research has shown that nitrogen oxide emissions are clouding lakes, changing lake biology, and threatening the aquatic life in the Colorado mountains.[9]

April 27, 2010: 5 Arrested in Boulder Anti-coal Campaign

On April 27, 2010 five people were arrested by Boulder Police officers and Boulder County sheriff's deputies during a protest at the Valmont Station in Denver.

The five activists joined about 20 protesters from the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center who gathered around in the early afternoon protest against use of coal at the plant by Xcel Energy. Reported the Denver Post:

The environmental activists climbed atop a large coal pile in front of the plant, put up two mock wind turnbines and a large banner that read: "RENEWABLES NOW."
The protestors [sic] stood atop the coal pile for nearly two hours before authorities arrived, organizers said in a press release.
"Boulder is ready to move forward with 100 percent renewable electricity. If Xcel is not willing to partner with the city to make this happen, then Boulder officials and citizens need to take our energy future into our own hands," said protestor [sic] Tom Weis.[10]

Plant Data

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 1,464,298 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions:
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions:
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions:

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Valmont Station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[12] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[13]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Valmont Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 3 $20,000,000
Heart attacks 4 $450,000
Asthma attacks 52 $3,000
Hospital admissions 2 $44,000
Chronic bronchitis 2 $810,000
Asthma ER visits 3 <$1,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources

Sources

  1. 1.0 1.1 Alex Burness, "Xcel: No more coal-burning at Valmont plant in Boulder," Daily Caller, 04/09/2017
  2. Mark Jaffe, "Nation watching Xcel's plans for aging coal-fired power plants" The Denver Post, Nov. 7, 2010.
  3. "Valmont Generating Station," City of Boulder, accessed March 2016
  4. "Xcel franchise negotiations likely to drag into next year," Colorado Daily, June 3, 2009.
  5. Judith Mohling, "Peace Train: Convert Valmont plant to clean energy," Colorado Daily, July 11, 2009.
  6. Anne Butterfield, "Selfishly seeking clean energy," Daily Camera, July 12, 2009.
  7. "Public packs Valmont power plant hearing," Colorado Daily, July 14, 2009.
  8. Bruce Finley, "Colorado Air Division Thumbs Nose at Governor Ritter," Jeremy Nichols, HuffingtonPost.com October 27, 2009.
  9. Bruce Finley, "Protesters want Colorado to 'stop clowning around' on clean air," Denver Post, November 19, 2009.
  10. Annette Espinoza, "Five Arrested in Boulder anti-coal protest" Denver Post, April 27, 2010.
  11. "EIA 423 and Schedule 2 of EIA-923," EIA 923 Schedules 2, 2011.
  12. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  13. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010

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