PacifiCorp to trim coal plans

PacifiCorp to trim coal plans

PORTLAND, Ore. – PacifiCorp said it is cutting construction plans for coal plants in half, but opponents are not satisfied.

PacifiCorp has been under pressure from watchdog groups and Oregon state regulators who oppose the company’s plans to build four coal plants.

And a block of those groups said it couldn’t support the amended offer because it continues to rely on old-fashioned plants that are harmful to the environment.

They include the Oregon Citizens’ Utility Board, Northwest Energy Coalition, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon and others.

“We are speaking with a single voice when we say the economic risks of global warming are too great to allow pulverized coal plants,” said Jason Eisdorfer, an attorney for the Citizens’ Utility Board.

The Oregon Department of Energy and the staff of the Oregon Public Utility Commission also objected to the company’s reliance on plans that fail to anticipate newer, cleaner technologies.

The commission has until the end of the year to decide whether to support PacifiCorp’s amended proposal.

PacifiCorp serves 1.6 million customers in six states, largely in Utah and Oregon.

The utility initially said it needed four new plants by 2014 to meet growing demand, particularly in Utah. Now, it says two coal plants in Utah and Wyoming would be enough if they were supplemented with wholesale market purchases.

The utility did consider using gasification technology, which reduces pollutants, but said it was not financially feasible.

Regulators and customer groups said PacifiCorp had not convinced them that additional power plants were needed. They urged the utility to look more closely at renewable resources, and the regulatory staff recommended the commission reject the proposal.

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