PacifiCorp's Naughton power plant near Kemmerer, Wyoming
Guest post by Dave Eskelsen, external communications:
It was an auspicious occasion on May 15, 1963 when the first unit at the Naughton power plant came on line. Two governors, Cliff Hansen of Wyoming, and George D. Clyde of Utah, attended the festivities. At the dedication ceremony, the plant was extolled for its fuel efficiency, low cost and high output of electric power. The central role reliable electric service played in the economic development of cities and towns was being realized, especially in rural areas. The plant was named for Edward M. Naughton, company president from 1954 to 1968.
For the predecessor company to Rocky Mountain Power, the date marked a major milestone in supplying the electricity needs of the growing West. Electric service had grown briskly in the post-war years and was powering nearly every major aspect of American life. Utilities throughout the nation needed to expand generation and transmission systems to meet the needs of homes and business. Naughton was part of an extensive construction program that saw larger, more efficient power plants built next to fuel sources, which could then transmit the energy to cities and towns over long-distance transmission lines. Early in the history of electric service, power plants had been located near industries or within cities where the electricity was used.
The original crew that started up Naughton Unit 1 50 years ago
In the decade prior to Naughton plant’s construction, demand for electricity by Rocky Mountain Power’s customers in the Intermountain West had increased nearly 200 percent. Naughton plant boasted the latest boiler and turbine designs to turn the coal from the adjacent mine into electricity in the large volumes customers needed. It also marked a period when electric utilities were increasing their interconnections with one another to increase reliability and make possible energy sales over a wider, multi-utility region, lowering electricity prices for all consumers.
Computerized systems were just beginning to be used in utility operations. Company accounting functions had been computerized just two years before, and computers to help schedule and control power plants and the transmission system were being installed for the first time. It was very much the beginning of today’s highly computerized, automated power control systems that enable utilities to keep service to customers going around the clock.
As larger units were added to Naughton in 1968 and 1971, technological advances continued. More efficient designs, together with improved environmental controls to make responsible use of natural resources became increasingly important. Rocky Mountain Power is committed to comply with all environmental regulations. Throughout Naughton’s venerable service history, the plant has been maintained to keep it a valuable part of the company’s low-cost and diverse mix of electric generation resources.