PacifiCorp study prompts review of coal-fired power plants in six states, including Utah

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  • old cuss 101 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 4:52 p.m.

    Power company studies are all economic with political overtones.

    If the real public interest is in eliminating CO2 production (turning solar produced and stored carbon into power) then we need to get not only coal, but also oil and natural gas out of the system. (natural gas turns into CO2 -- CH4 + 2O2 >> CO2 + 2H2O, 33% by volume, 55% by weight )

    Our best long term option for staying within environmental constraints and still meeting both developed world plus pent up third world energy needs is a nuclear based system with contribution of whatever other sources are economically viable. Since nuclear plants are so difficult for the private sector, one way to do that would be to have the States/Feds build and own the base load nuclear power plants (like the big western hydroelectric facilities) and have the power companies be brokers and transporters for power, coming first from the plants and then from whatever source is available.

    In the discussion, no "fear mongering" or faulty logic, or political subsidies, or bad economics allowed! Nuclear plants are manageable, including nuclear waste.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 7:18 a.m.

    Coal is more expensive than natural gas. .. until it isn't.

    I hope PacificCorp isn't considering putting all it's eggs in one basket.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 7:33 p.m.

    Well, not mentioned is the success of Obama's "war on coal" over the last decade which forced many coal plants to close, prompting many new renewable sources being brought on line. Likewise, enviro activist mandates from California and Oregon refusing to buy coal powered electricity have closed plants and decreased coal use.

    Pacific Corp should be free to choose whatever type plants it wants to use to provide power, not be driven by enviro activists. Similarly, if legislators get to call the shots on power, then Utah should mandate that Utah gets first dibs on all power generated in Utah, and only send some to California if there is a surplus.

    And, the anti-coal consumers and politicians should be denied coal powered electricity on cloudy, windless days, instead of forcing producers to have excess coal capacity to cover such situations.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 2:30 p.m.

    They've had years and years to comply and the GOP owned by the extraction industries kept giving them extensions, because of the costs, they like the GOP tends to do kept kicking the can down the road hoping to stall another year or two.

    They weren't willing to do it incrementally, this is on them.

    Now if we can get the dear leader out of office before he slides backward all the EPA regulations that keep or rivers from burning, along with our eyes and lungs.

  • WallE Walla Walla, WA
    Jan. 2, 2019 2:28 p.m.

    I wonder if the economics include a 2.4 cents/KWhr Federal subsidy for wind power. Wind energy production peaks in the spring when it is needed the least to meet system demand.

    Solar production stops before air conditioning loads slow down. It requires fossil fuels for supply to meet demand. (Check out the "duck curve" for more information.)

    Energy production/mix is complex. The worst thing that can happen is to lose a resource that will cause human beings to be less efficient. Thank goodness PacificCorp isn't relying on emotions to make these decisions.

  • Curt Conklin Provo, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 11:25 a.m.

    Impartial7: It is my understanding that the Utah Public Services Commission regulates the profit margins of public utilities as they are virtual monopolies. While cleaning up pollution emitting from coal fired power plant smokestacks such as Utah's PacificCorp's Hunter and Huntingon plants is theoretically possible, costs make it such that the two words . . . clean and coal . . . don't belong in same sentence. The future is in renewables . . . for energy AND clean air. Energy production and distribution is changing and decentralizing.

  • stevan madrigal Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 10:57 a.m.

    Comment on this story
    "The bottom line is that PacifiCorp knows it may have to accelerate retirement of some coal plants because they simply can't compete with lower-cost alternatives," -
    Good.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 10:38 a.m.

    Utahn's will breath more deadly air for longer times now. It's a bogus argument to beg for financial consideration to profit to continue to pollute for financial gains. There are cleaner ways for coal plants to operate, but it takes profits away to install better pollution controls. Coal plants need to come to an arrangement to keep operating. Install the best technology to control pollution and quit making obscene profits on your monopoly. Find a balance or die off.