We now know how many billions of gallons of water Colorado will save by closing coal-fired power plants
The closing of 30 coal-fired generating units across the West – including 10 in Colorado – could free-up more than 76 billion gallons of river and groundwater a year in the increasingly parched region, although utilities appear cautious about giving up their water rights.
An analysis by the Energy and Policy Institute, a non-profit, utility industry watchdog group, found that there were potential water savings in seven western states – Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada Montana and Wyoming – where coal plant closures are set to close over the next 10 years.
“The savings are significant in every state,” said Joe Smyth, the author of the analysis. The biggest savings could come in the Upper Colorado River Basin where power plants used an average of 53 billion gallons of water a year between 1991 and 2018.
As some of the smaller power plants in the basin have already closed, 2018 water consumption was 11% below the 1991-2018 average, according to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data.
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