PacifiCorp ‘likely’ to operate Carbon coal plant until April 2015

PacifiCorp spokesman Dave Eskelsen said Oct. 23 that a Salt Lake Tribune report that the coal-fired Carbon plant in Utah will be shut in 2014 was in error, and that the long-planned shutdown for this plant is still by April 2015.

He said the plant is “likely” to keep operating until April 2015. That shutdown timeline is based on the imposition in April 2015 of the federal Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS), which the utility doesn’t want to meet with expensive new air controls, like baghouses, for the aging plant. Another issue is that the 172-MW plant is built against a canyon wall, limiting space to build any new emissions controls.

PacifiCorp on June 21 had filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission some updated information related to its plan to decommission Carbon. In a May 24 decision, the federal commission conditionally accepted in part and rejected in part a Project Construction Agreement between PacifiCorp’s Transmission Function and PacifiCorp Energy, effective March 29, 2013. The Construction Agreement addresses the decommissioning activities related to the Carbon plant.

The PacifiCorp website said about this plant: “Carbon Plant was commissioned in 1954 after Unit 1 was built into the side of a 100-foot rock formation near Helper, Utah. We added Unit 2 in 1956 and today the two produce a combined 172 megawatts of electricity. We own and operate the plant. We added electrostatic precipitators to both units between 1974 and 1976, and other modifications have been added during the years to reduce emissions and increase operating efficiency. Carbon burns approximately 657,000 tons of sub-bituminous coal per year that is delivered to the plant by truck from several local mines.”

PacifiCorp said in an integrated resource plan filed April 30 with Utah regulators that it anticipates that retiring the 172-MW Carbon plant in early 2015 will be the least-cost alternative to comply with MATS and other environmental rules.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.