Holcomb power plant unlikely to be built, company says; $93 million already spent

TOPEKA — A controversial plan to build an 895-megawatt coal fired power plant in southwest Kansas now appears to be dead, company officials behind the project have said.

In an August filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Denver-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association described as “remote” the chances that it will ever build the plant, and it said the company is writing off as a loss more than $93 million it has already spent on the project.

“Although a final decision has not been made by our Board on whether to proceed with the construction of the Holcomb Expansion, we have assessed the probability of us entering into construction for the Holcomb Expansion as remote,” the company said. “Based on this assessment, we have determined that the costs incurred for the Holcomb Expansion are impaired and not recoverable.”

That statement came just five months after the Kansas Supreme Court cleared the way to proceed with construction, rejecting a challenge from environmental groups to an air permit issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The plant had been in the works for more than a decade, however, and by the time that court decision came down, there were new federal regulations in place making it more difficult to build new coal-fired power plants, and the economics of renewable energy had changed significantly.

(Read more: LJWorld.com / Lawrence, Kansas)