PacifiCorp, the largest utilities company in the western U.S., will evaluate the cost of its coal resources. The Oregon Public Utility Commission requested the action after customers and advocacy groups demanded more information on whether the current coal plants made sense economically.
There was skepticism surrounding the company’s continued use of coal plants following a report from an energy consulting firm that found 40-percent of PacifiCorp’s coal fleet was uneconomical. The firm, Synapse, also found the maintenance of coal-fired power plants past 2018 could cost ratepayers nearly $600 million.
President of the Sierra Club’s Wyoming Chapter Connie Wilbert said the review will clearly show coal plants are no longer the most economical source of energy.
"That should really help to change the conversation about how quickly they will need to change their generating facilities to more economical sources that will be better for ratepayers,” Wilbert said.
PacifiCorp invested $3.5 million in its wind energy portfolio this year and has plans for more, but, it still plans to keep its coal plants online. Wilbert said she hopes the full report, expected to come out in June 2018, will result in a shift towards more renewable energy use.