Gordon Fuming Over Results of Coal Study

Coal Stock Photo

Governor Mark Gordon isn’t happy with the results of a recent coal study, which has a regional utility company considering early-retirement for coal-fired power plants in southeast Wyoming.

The study was carried out by PacifiCorp, which operates as Rocky Mountain Power in Wyoming, Idaho, and Utah.

Through the study, Rocky Mountain Power examined the costs and benefits of how the company generates electricity, looking to see if they are “making the best decisions” for their customers, according to Rick Link, PacifiCorp vice president of resource, planning, and acquisitions.

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon

“The study reflects the ongoing changing economics for coal driven by market forces,” Link added.

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The company looked at the benefits of retiring four coal-fired units in Sweetwater and Lincoln counties, ahead of schedule.

The Naughton Power Plants, units 1 and 2, and the Jim Bridger Power Plants, units 1 and 2, are both candidates for early retirement, according to a PacifiCorp press release.

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Both power plants employ hundreds of people in southeastern Wyoming, and Gordon has publicly expressed his displeasure.

“I am deeply concerned to learn about this path that Rocky Mountain Power is moving down,” Gordon said in a statement. “This has significant impacts on all of Wyoming and revenue for schools and other services we all depend on.”

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Early retirement for coal-fired power plants is a sign of drifting away from finding solutions for reducing emissions at those facilities in Wyoming and around the globe, Gordon continued.

The governor promised to be “very engaged” with Rocky Mountain Power in the coming months as the company moves towards making a final decision.

“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 address climate change,” Gordon stated.

Rocky Mountain Power is currently taking public comments.