Wyoming Governor Decries Early Retirement of Coal-Fired Units
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has serious reservations about the potential early retirement of units at two Wyoming coal-fired power plants.
"I am deeply concerned to learn about this path that Rocky Mountain Power is moving down. This has significant impacts on all of Wyoming and revenue for schools and other services we all depend on," Governor Mark Gordon said in a statement Friday. "It also means a loss of jobs and changing people's lives."
Gordon is letting PacifiCorp, which operates as Rocky Mountain Power in Wyoming and two other states, know that he is displeased with the company's study of the potential savings tied to the retirement of power-generating units powered by coal at two Wyoming power plants.
The study is not a final decision, Gordon's statement acknowledged.
PacifiCorp is moving forward with an initiative dubbed Energy Vision 2020, which would significantly expand the amount of wind power providing energy to its customers by 2020. The company is making an investment of $3.1 billion as part of that measure, adding 1,150 megawatts of new wind resources by the end of next year and building a 140-mile transmission line in Wyoming to enable additional wind generation.
The company says the measure will keep costs low for customers by using federal production tax credits and benefit rural economies by creating construction jobs and bolstering local tax revenues.
"Nearly one-third of our electric generation capacity is from zero-emitting plants," Rocky Mountain Power says on its website.
On Thursday, the company said that two units at the Naughton plant near Kemmerer and two more at the Jim Bridger plant outside Rock Springs are leading candidates for early retirement. The two plants employ hundreds of people, Gordon said, as do the mines that supply them with coal.
PacifiCorp shut down one of three units at the Naughton plant in January.
"The potential for early retirements of some coal-fired power plants means we drift further away form finding solutions for reducing carbon emissions at all coal-fired power plants, those plants in Wyoming and across the globe. I will be very engaged with Rocky Mountain Power over the coming months as they move towards finalizing decisions," Gordon said Friday.
Gordon encourages people who want to give input on the issue to submit comments to Rocky Mountain Power before the public comment period closes.
"I will advocate for a positive path where this utility and others are part of developing solutions rather than destroying communities and delaying progress on meaningful technological advances that keeps coal as part of a diverse energy portfolio and also addresses climate change," Gordon added.