Utah PSC okays deal that involves shutdown of three Rio Tinto coal units

The Utah Public Service Commission on Oct. 27 approved a multi-year contract between Rio Tinto Kennecott and PacifiCorp d/b/a Rocky Mountain Power, with Rio Tinto Kennecott to shut down three of its coal burning power units more than one year ahead of schedule after negotiating this contract to continue receiving electricity from Rocky Mountain Power.

“This is an important step in the state’s mission to continue improving air quality along the Wasatch Front,” said Colin Nexhip, Rio Tinto Kennecott interim managing director, in an Oct. 27 statement. “Shutting down our coal units will eliminate more than 3,500 tons of particulate and precursor emissions emitted annually from these facilities.”

“This agreement helps to provide rate stability for our customers and improves the air we breathe,” said Cindy A. Crane, Rocky Mountain Power President and CEO. “This agreement benefits our customers and helps keep Utah’s economy growing.”

The contract took years of negotiations and substantial support was provided by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and others to lay the groundwork for a beneficial agreement that met the needs of both companies while benefitting Utah.

As one of the largest copper producers in the U.S., Rio Tinto Kennecott has nearly 20% of U.S. copper production. Kennecott’s Bingham Canyon Mine is one of the top producing copper mines in the world with production at more than 19 million tons. These operations are served by on-site power generation.

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.