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Comments about ‘Natural gas may be the future at Utah's giant coal plant’

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Published: Monday, March 24 2014 9:55 p.m. MDT

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itsjustme
Vernal, UT

If the State of California wants coal-free electricity, why don't they build their own power plants in their own State to supply all of their own electricity needs? They keep closing the power plants that they have, which requires them to buy most of their electricity from other States.

I really hope that the day comes where electric generating companies tell them to take their business elsewhere, and leave those of us that don't want to live the way they choose to live alone.

California is failing, and they are trying to take everyone else down with them.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

This is good news.

Two key benefits with gas: One, it can be easily ramped up and down to match the variability of increasing levels of renewable energy on the system. When free wind blows or sun shines, you can easily throttle back natural gas production and preserve it as a future fuel -- can't do that with either coal or nuclear power. The ability to match load with clean, fuel-free energy helps modernize the overall energy system through diversification and flexibility.

Two, igniting gas on fire emits half the carbon of burning coal, so from a climate change perspective, it is better than coal. The one issue with gas is fracking and release of methane at gas wells, and these are issues that still persist.

The benefit of more renewables on the system is reduced water use. Wind and PV solar require no water. Few realize how significant this can be in the desert West and for ag communities.

Sadly, too many in Utah want to be the "keeper of the flame" for fossil fuels -- but this consumes our water and pollutes our air.

high school fan
Huntington, UT

And the winner in all this is? Not the coal miner who is now unemployed, not the railroad worker who is also unemployed nor the home natural gas user who now pays more because prices are up because demand is up. Utah coal, unlike back east coal, is much cleaner and the government already makes the power plants clean.
This is driven by Californians who simply have no clue and don't care mixed in with a few that have an agenda and their actions will eventually cost us all more.

A_Chinese_American
Cedar Hills, UT

IMHO, overall this is a bad news for Utah and US, which indicates the trend of events that Energy price will be much higher and US economics competition power will be decreased in the long run. While I can say we need to protect our environment seriously but we also need to maintain our economic development. Economics efficiency is the key element to support our national competition power, for which we are falling currently under current national leaders.

justamacguy
Manti, UT

Oh yes... this is a great environmental victory taking one us coal plant off line when China is putting a new coal plant online every month. Don't worry... when the gas runs dry, you will gladly be back to coal.

dcbond75
St. Johns, AZ

We have three coal fired power plants in a 70 mile radius. All are in danger of being closed down due to new EPA regulations. One of those three have access to Natural Gas. All Three have undergone severe reconstructions to accommodate EPA requirements. Just as soon as the retrofits took place, EPA changed the requirements and demanded tighter controls. Where does it all end?

Green Peace doesn't want Coal Power, Nuclear Power, and if you dig deep enough they do not even want Natural Gas Power.

Wind Farms kill birds, Solar Power takes up so much space to produce only a mere fraction of what a power plant produces.

And though the technology is there for fuel cells, they break down and become hazardous wastes.

Hydrogen power is too expensive to develop.

No one out there has an answer how to replenish the loss if these power plants are shutdown, and EPA could care less the cost to retrofit or redesign.

Like Itsjustme, Let California and the Eastern States fend for themselves. W Cut all the power they receive from our hazardous plants and lets see how fast they come back, and beg, to turn them back on.

george of the jungle
goshen, UT

I think that BTU's will be a problem Coal burns hotter so they will go cost effective with coal

Onion Daze
Payson, UT

"Corker" of the day statement.

"California is failing, and they are trying to take everyone else down with them."

Unfortunately, it is not just you that believes such stuff.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

"Pushed by the science and politics of climate change, Utah's Intermountain Power Project will likely hitch its future to natural gas instead of coal."
-----------------------

I'm glad John included the "and politics" in his sentence above. As I correctly surmised while reading that sentence and was confirmed later in the article, the **main** driver of this decision is politics.

I'd love to see us convert to more renewable fuel sources ASAP. I personally do all I can to reasonably conserve energy, in all forms. But, I am appalled when I witness some of the truly absurd extremes taken by some in the "environmental" movement. Some of their tactics and policies in general are so anti-scientific it becomes worse than counter productive to then claim a scientific rationale.

We are very fortunate to have such rich supplies of fossil fuels. I hope we won't allow that luxury to continue to lull us into a false sense of complacency as we leisurely pursue alternatives. I also hope such pursuits are made without a false sense of urgency that leads to a corrupt sense of scientific objectivity. We can and must secure BOTH our environment and scientific honesty.

bricha
lehi, ut

Samhill,

I really liked your comment! While we need to carefully weigh the cost of changing the way we make energy, we can't just stick our heads in the sand and say that oil/gas/coal will never run out.

Thankfully we do have an abundance of said resources, but the fact of the matter is we are eventually going to have to change, lets just hope we can do so in an effective way.

Alacrity
Tooele, UT

It's a bit disconcerting that California builds a power plant geographically in the middle of Utah that uses a lot of water in an area where water is relatively scarce (I know multiple farmers in Millard county who will verify that) and also pollutes Utah air, while California cities reap all the finished product.

The primary benefit to Utah is jobs. There are a lot of coal industry jobs related to IPP using 5 million tons of coal per year, along with the railroad industry jobs affiliated with getting the coal there. And now California people are deciding to take most of those jobs away. To add insult to injury, it's very possible it will be out-of-state companies who come in and do most of the plant retrofitting to natural gas.

I agree with "itsjustme" concerning his statement that states shouldn't be allowed to impose their political will and wants on other states. They should then take care of their own needs and deal with the detrimental issues associated with them. If they want our electricity, fine. Then buy it. But don't tell us how we have to produce it.

Onion Daze
Payson, UT

Robert Bennett's article today included the following statement taken perhaps out of context.

"...lying---when you do it, go big---because it is easier to sell outrageous falsehoods than it is small ones."

The above certainly has application to the following posted statement.

"California is failing, and they are trying to take everyone else down with them."

I had no idea that there are millions of California citizens who desire "to take everyone else down with them."

One opinion
west jordan, UT

The one thing that I loved about the IPP Power Plant was it never put out smoke. In the picture you see, that is not smoke - it is steam. The air was always clean in the Delta Valley - no pollution hung in the air. IPP was built with strict cleaning systems that remove pollutants and is one of the cleanest coal fired plants in the world. If there is ever an earthquake there won't be nuclear products released into our surrounding community. The plant can be shut down and not continue to pollute the water and area like a nuclear plant does. If a retrofit is done, I would hope it is done saving at least one portion to still run on coal in case of any kind of emergencies where natural gas may be lost for a period of time.

Alacrity
Tooele, UT

I've read that Utah and the intermountain states have enough coal reserves to last for triple-digit years at current usage rates. As such, there is no imminent need to immediately start changing everything. In the meantime, it's very possible and most likely that technology advances will continue to allow for even cleaner and more efficient processing of those fossil fuels.

Of course, the very idea of using fossil fuels is a total turnoff to many environmental groups, no matter how efficiently they can be produced and processed. With those ideas in mind, "Samhill" makes some very good points with regards to scientific honesty and objectivity.

We shouldn't let allow current political correctness and whims (which are often not scientific driven and tend to continually change with the political winds) direct too many of those long-term intra-state decisions, especially when driven by out-of-state groups. Decisions under those conditions often lead to later regrets.

Clarissa
Layton, UT

I like the idea of the coal plants being turned into natural gas. I do worry about the people who will lose their jobs. I was in Orangeville when the mine exploded. It was a terrible time. I've never been fond of mining underground since then, but must admit they have made great progress, it appears that mining has become safer, still accidents can happen.

joeandrade
Salt Lake City, UT

Coal is a very dirty fuel. Period. The sooner we transform Utah's energy economy away from coal - and then later away from all fossil fuels - the better. Our leaders should be out in front, advocating and facilitating the transformation.

California - and Utah - don't want coal-generated electricity; they don't even want natural gas - generated electricity. We all want truly renewably-generated electricity. So let's get on with it.

Elect officials who understand this and have the brains and guts to help their communities transform. Where are the state and county incentives and initiatives to wean us out of a coal-based economy?

Utah's current elected officials are still wistfully gazing at the 19th century - rather than accepting they are now in the 21st. If they can't adapt, unelect them - and elect those who can.

Shawnm750
West Jordan, UT

@itsjustme - California's been buying power from and building plants in Utah for decades. Building costs in California are (conservatively) twice what they are in Utah, and environmental regulations there are a nightmare! Plus, Utah has an abundance of coal and so it's cheaper to send trains here than it is all the way to California.

Dave Duncan
Orem, UT

Bricha,

The notion that we will run out out of petroleum may seem logical, but it isn't supported by the facts. The known reserves of petroleum keep growing--and at a faster rate than consumption.

We find it in new places. New technologies help us find more in old places, and help us harvest more from existing reserves, and old reserves that used to be considered "depleted".

Sure, we MAY run out in hundreds or thousands of years. But that's a lot of time to figure out economical replacement sources of energy. The "sky is falling" mantra of many environmental extremists is just not justified. We have time to figure this out.

California Steve
Hanford, CA

So Joe, we did build a "renewable" solar plant here in California. It's called the Ivanpah plant near Primm Nevada. Your type are now whining because birds get fried by the heat generated. You're never happy. I suggest you people in Utah elect officials in Utah that will fight for coal and jobs. As for us in California, forget it. We're a lost cause.

dcbond75
St. Johns, AZ

Onion Daze

The caption you quoted from Robert Bennett's article: "...lying---when you do it, go big---because it is easier to sell outrageous falsehoods than it is small ones." literally works on both sides of the spectrum. It has been so successful with the current Presidential Administration and the EPA.

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