Coal Plants Cancelled in Wyoming

no to coal I may begin to sound like a broken record here, but yet another coal plant has been pulled because of global warming-related concerns.

Back in October, the Kansas Department of Health denied a coal plant permit solely because of its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions (CO2 is a major contributor to global warming). Not long after, Washington state rejected a coal plant because of its climate change pollution.

The most recent example hails from Wyoming, where two coal plants planned for the southwestern area of the state have been pulled because of concerns about global warming regulation. Specifically, the uncertainty of what sort of CO2 regulation will ultimately be decided upon makes utilities and investors nervous about putting money into a technology that will likely be costlier in the near future.

PacifiCorp, which operates Rocky Mountain Power in Wyoming, is the company that pulled the plants. One was to be a 527-megawatt “supercritical” pulverized coal plant and the other was to be a coal gasification, carbon capture and sequestration demonstration project. Although some clean energy supporters believe that carbon sequestration will need to be a part of the future energy mix, the utility industry and federal government haven’t committed to funding demonstrations that could lead to commercial-scale sequestration.

Dave Eskelsen, Rocky Mountain Power spokesperson, told the Casper Star Tribune:

The situation the company finds itself in now is a significant amount of uncertainty about what climate change regulation might do to the cost of coal plants. Coal projects are no longer viable.

Likewise, when PacifiCorp filed to remove the coal plants from its energy plan, it noted the risk of building a coal plant in a modern era:

Within the last few months, most of the planned coal plants in the United States have been canceled, denied permits, or been involved in protracted litigation. Accordingly, the company submits that IPP 3, Bridger 5, and the IGCC option at Jim Bridger, are no longer viable options …

PacifiCorp, which services six Western states, isn’t excluding new coal plants from its 20-year considerations completely. But as far as the next decade goes, it says it can’t determine whether new coal will satisfy the least cost, least risk standards to make it viable. Instead, the company is looking at efficiency measures as one way to meet future demand.

Billings Gazette
Cascade Climate Network
Casper Star Tribune

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  • As an environmentalist, I say yay — these are the types of broad policy changes we need.

    As a person, it concerns me because much of my extended family are coal miners in Wyoming. We need to be finding solutions that don’t leave the communities that coal supports behind.

  • Joffan

    Great news. It’s past time that coal got some of the spotlight of environmental discipline. The puzzling thing is that a sequestration porject was one of the cacelled plants. Is that the industry taking home its ball in a sulk?

    And David, the coal industry isn’t supporting its working communities. There are fewer and fewer people working in the industry despite high output from MTR etc. Time to move on from that idea I’m afraid. I’m all for transitional support for those communnities; but not for continued coal support.

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  • hi! just to follow up on this post, an independent poll now confirms that Kansans support KDHE’s decision to deny the coal plants by a margin of 2 to 1.

    You can check out the press release at our blog – address posted above.

  • Lancey

    Joffan, despite what you think I know for a fact that if the coal industry in Gillette, Wyoming dried up the place would become a ghost town in no time flat. The very reason that Gillette is becoming one of Wyoming’s fastest growing cities is because of the Coal Boom. Besides coal there is really nothing else that is worth it for the residents of Gillette to live there for…the town I’m sorry to say is one of the ugliest in Wyoming and yet the houses and properties are at a minimum despite the nationwide housing market being at an all time low. Not to mention the price for purchasing a house is higher than anywhere else in the state, despite greatly reduced rates. I don’t know anyone in Gillette whose family is NOT in some way connected to the many mines around the area.
    This argument though is not meant to be construed as pro-coal. I’m completely against the use of it and prefer to use sustainable energy whenever possible. Living OFF the grid here by using my own wind powered generators has gotten me a few looks of distain…but I don’t really care. However; please don’t presume that the industry does not support the working community; especially around here.

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