The TransAlta coal plant in Centralia will fully close down by 2025, as part of an agreement that will see $55 million invested to help the community prepare for the transition.
The Centralia agreement is an example of an unusually well-funded, long-planned transition. Unlike many coal plant closures today, it was forged not because the company was going out of business but as a political deal to address climate change.
The TransAlta coal plant’s closure will be a win for environmentalists and left-leaning lawmakers who want to fight climate change. The town, however, will lose a significant taxpayer. And nearly 200 people will lose their jobs.
Local officials say they are excited about new wind and solar projects backed by TransAlta and others, which have sprung up independently of the agreement, but those will create a fraction of the jobs and tax base that the coal plant has historically provided. And attempts to bring new businesses to the area have so far been disappointing.