SALT LAKE CITY — PacifiCorp has released an updated economic study of its coal fleet that will inform how the company meets the long-term customer energy needs of its customers. PacifiCorp operates as Rocky Mountain Power in Wyoming, Utah and Idaho.
The study was conducted as part of the company’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan, which is still under development and anticipated to be completed in August. The IRP, which is updated every two years, identifies actions the company anticipates taking over the next 20 years to provide reliable and least-cost electricity to customers.
Informed by the earlier analysis of 22 coal units, the study reviewed coal units that are part of PacifiCorp’s broader resource mix to determine if customers would benefit from closing a unit or combination of units earlier than currently planned. Most of the company’s coal units will reach the end of their depreciable lives at different points over the next 20 years.
While no resource decision will be made ahead of completion of the 2019 IRP, the study identified potential benefits for customers through early retirement of some coal units.
“We continuously examine the costs and benefits of how the company generates electricity to ensure we are making the best decisions for customers,” said Rick Link, PacifiCorp vice president of resource planning and acquisitions. “The study reflects the ongoing changing economics for coal driven by market forces.”
For purposes of the study, the company examined whether customers would benefit if units are retired as early as 2022 and replaced with other resources. The timing and sequencing of any actual coal unit closures will ultimately be determined by a range of factors that also include workforce and community transition considerations.
The units the study identifies as being less economic to operate beyond 2022 than alternatives and are candidates for early retirement are:
Next steps. The company anticipates issuing a preferred portfolio for input from regulators and stakeholders before submitting a final plan to state regulators in August.
The company will also work to ensure communities and employees that would be affected by the potential early plant closures are informed and involved in the process.
“We understand the impact of these resource decisions on customers, employees and communities and are committed to ensuring these impacts are known and planned for,” said Link.
The completed coal unit analysis can be seen at pacificorp.com/irp.