What happens when America’s coal plants die?
Facing economic and environmental pressures, coal plants are closing across the US, leaving communities to work out how to keep afloat. When the coal-fired power plant just outside the tiny town of Nucla, Colorado, closed in 2019, it had the makings of a disaster. The plant, which opened in 1959, shut down three years ahead of schedule when it ran out of coal, leaving the town shocked and facing the loss of its largest employer. The facility provided nearly half the tax revenue to the region, said Deana Sheriff, executive director of the West End Economic Development Corp, which serves Nucla and the surrounding area between Telluride and Grand Junction in western Colorado.