Oregon Utility Moves to Shut Down the State's Last Coal Plant


photo via flickr

The Sierra Club reports that 26 coal-fired power plants were stopped or shut down in 2009. 2010 may get off to an equally good start if the Oregon utility Portland General Electric (PGE) goes all the way and shuts down the state's only coal-fired power plant. PGE has recommended that the plant be closed in 2020, two decades ahead of schedule. Just four months ago, PGE said they wanted to keep the 550-megawatt, 35-year-old plant alive until 2040. But now in a letter to Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC), PGE wrote:

"Right now state regulations give us very few options -- either shut the plant prematurely at a tremendous cost to customers or install very expensive new controls despite uncertainty about future carbon regulation and technological developments.

"We think an alternative plan could reduce cost and risk for our customers while giving us time to develop replacement resources or convert to a different fuel."

Some environmental groups in Oregon say that PGE could close down the plant even sooner. Brock Howell, state policy advocate for Environment Oregon, told the climate blog SolveClimate that, "Based on the analyses I've seen, 2014 is both the most cost-effective and technically feasible year to shutdown the coal plant."

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