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PacifiCorp cancels Wyo. coal projects

Dec 11, 2007 - The Associated Press

PacifiCorp has scrapped plans for two coal-based power projects in southwest Wyoming, saying coal plant projects are no longer "viable" because of the uncertain political climate regarding carbon dioxide emissions.

PacifiCorp, which operates as Rocky Mountain Power in Wyoming, said it has pulled all coal-based power generation from its plan to meet increasing load demand within the six Western states it serves.

The action scraps a planned 527-megawatt, pulverized coal unit at the Jim Bridger power plant in Sweetwater County. It also scraps a coal-gasification, carbon capture and sequestration demonstration project in partnership with the state of Wyoming at Jim Bridger, according to Rocky Mountain Power spokesman Dave Eskelsen.

"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," Eskelsen said Monday. "Coal projects are no longer viable."

California, Oregon, Washington and other states across the nation are forcing utilities to consider the additional cost of curbing carbon dioxide emissions in proposed coal-based generation, due to increasing pressure to address climate change.

Scientists say human-caused CO2 contributes to global warming.

In a Nov. 28 filing to the Utah Public Service Commission, PacifiCorp noted that just two weeks earlier the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners adopted a resolution acknowledging that climate change legislation is likely to occur and likely to target carbon dioxide emissions.

"Within the last few months, most of the planned coal plants in the United States have been cancelled, denied permits, or been involved in protracted litigation," PacifiCorp stated in its filing.

The move away from coal-fired generation is in complete contrast with the treatment conventional coal projects have received from Gov. Dave Freudenthal's administration and Wyoming regulators.

At least three new coal-fired power plant projects have been approved in Wyoming in recent years, with no carbon capture or sequestration requirements. All three plants are planned for construction in Campbell County over the next three years.


Information from: Star-Tribune, http://www.casperstartribune.net