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An earlier version of this episode misstated the future dates of the Craig station unit retirements. As of December 2021, Tri-State and its utility partners (where applicable) have announced that Unit 1 will retire by the end of 2025; Unit 2 will retire on September 30, 2028; and Unit 3 will retire by 2030. This timeline has not changed and remains consistent with Tri-State's originally announced schedule.

Coal-fired energy production will soon be a thing of past in Craig.

What will the town look like by 2030?

More importantly: What do the residents want their home to become?

In our final episode, we wanted to take a look ahead.

Some of the next steps are already in motion. The land at Trapper Mine will eventually be revegetated for deer and elk and grouse. The Craig Station could be repurposed and become a testbed for hydrogen production while continuing to employ plant workers. Vacant lots are getting bought up. New businesses are coming in to downtown.

This is ultimately a story about resilience.

All around, there are hopeful signs for Craig. Coal doesn’t have to define this place anymore. The new ideas and new technologies we’ve heard about can power the future. And that’s exciting. 

There’s a lot of friction in our energy transition. Our individual motivations are complicated and contradictory at times. As humans, we tend to favor the path of least resistance. But to address big challenges, we have to be brave enough to steer into that discomfort. We must find ways to reduce that friction and bridge divides. That takes time. It takes outreach. It takes understanding.

Ginny Brannon, Director, Colorado Department of Reclamation, Mining & Safety
Wade Buchanan, Director, Colorado Office of Just Transition
Duane Highley, CEO, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association
Jennifer Holloway, Executive Director, Craig Chamber of Commerce
Kirstie McPherson, Community and Economic Development Manager, Colorado Office of Just Transition
Tim Osborn, Vice President of Generation, Tri-State Generation and Transmission
Graham Roberts, Environmental Supervisor, Trapper Mining Inc.

Bonus Clips

Ginny Brannon, Executive Director of the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining, and Safety, discusses the distinction between pre-law abandoned mines and the current, more stringently regulated mines.

Further Reading

"Tri-State, Xcel, Colorado eye Yampa River water for “green hydrogen” projects," Water Education Colorado, August 11, 2021.

Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association Responsible Energy Plan.

"Moes make purchase of mall official, move forward with proposed adventure center," Craig Press, November 8, 2020

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