Environews, Minis

Environews: Coal plants uneconomic

By Amy Brunvand

A 2018 report from the Sierra Club found that coal-fired power plants in Utah cost more to operate than if they were using wind or solar energy.

Unexpectedly, Pacificorp (the parent company of Rocky Mountain Power) agrees. For years, PacifiCorp refused Sierra Club requests for financial data on aging coal-fired plants. Now, a 2019 resource plan from PacifiCorp says that 13 of 22 coal-fired power plants are uneconomic and that retiring them by 2022 would produce a net saving since natural gas and renewable energy have become cheaper to produce.

In 2016, Utah legislators eliminated a tax credit for electric vehicles, claiming that pollution from coal-generated electricity undid any air-quality advantages of electric cars. As environmentalists pointed out, the sources of electricity can change.

This article was originally published on February 5, 2019.