HAYDEN, Colo. (KREX)–Coal: the backbone of northwest Colorado’s economy for more than half a century. Hayden Station power plant was the first to open its doors in 1965, and several mines and other power plants in the region followed suit in the following years. But by 2030–or sooner–coal will be a thing of the past.

The mines and power plants in northwest Colorado has been vital to supplying energy to many communities in Colorado, as well as several other western states. With climate concerns and the push toward green energy though, coal is no longer a viable option.

The U.S. Department of Commerce has recently awarded Colorado’s coal communities an $8.5 million grant for economic diversification. The grant will help communities like Craig and Hayden continue their economic growth–even through the closure of their major economic forces. In fact, there is already a plan in place for Hayden Station once it closes its doors for good.

“This grant is funding the first phase, which would actually result in probably over 200-plus jobs and 200 million in private investment–just in this one spot,” says Hayden City Manager Matthew Mendisco. There is already a lot of investment in these communities. A community rec center, as well as upgraded roadway and water infrastructure in Hayden is just a few things that are in the works.