Intermountain Power Station

From Global Energy Monitor

Intermountain Power Station is a 1,640.0-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station located near Delta, Utah.


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Plant Data

  • Owner: City of Los Angeles/Intermountain Power Agency
  • Parent Company: City of Los Angeles/Intermountain Power Agency
  • Plant Nameplate Capacity: 1,640.0 MW (Megawatts)
  • Units and In-Service Dates: Unit 1: 820.0 MW (1986), Unit 2: 820.0 MW (1987)
  • Location: 850 Brush Wellman Rd., Delta, UT 84624
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.509193, -112.580204
  • Technology: Subcritical
  • Coal type: Sub-bituminous / Bituminous
  • Coal Consumption:
  • Coal Source: Skyline Complex (Wolverine Fuels), Sufco Mine (Wolverine Fuels), Coal Hollow Mine (Alton coal development), West Elk Mine (Arch Coal), Castle Valley Prep Plant (Rhino Energy)[1]
  • Number of Employees:
  • Unit Retirements: Both units are scheduled for closure in June 2027.[2]

Plant retirement

The plant's two units are planned for retirement in 2025, as its Southern California municipality customer base have opted out of purchasing coal-fueled electricity when the contracts are up. In 2017 it was reported that the coal plant will be replaced with a 1,200 MW gas plant.[3]

In 2019 it was reported that the coal plant is scheduled to be replaced with an 840 MW natural gas plant by 2025, at a cost of $865 million. The new natural gas fired turbines would be the first of their kind capable of burning a mix of 70% natural gas and 30% "green" hydrogen (hydrogen released by the electrolysis of water, using renewably generated electricity) when the plant opens in 2025. The plan is to steadily increase the hydrogen percentage to 100% by 2045, which will require upgrading or replacement of the turbines to be able to handle greater percentages of hydrogen. One expert noted that using hydrogen to replace natural gas in power-plant turbines is currently theoretical and has never been done in practice, and a LADWP IPP official stated that the "economics remain to be seen" and "could be quite expensive."[4]

The EIA 860 database lists a scheduled closure for the coal plant in June 2027.[2]


It is owned by the Intermountain Power Agency (IPA); the project manager and operating agent is the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; operation and maintenance is by the Intermountain Power Service Corporation (IPSC), and the Intermountain Power Agency.[5] Participants in the plant include 6 California Municipal Utilities, 23 Utah Municipal Utilities, 6 Utah Rural Electric Cooperatives, 1 Utah Investor Owned Utility, and 1 Nevada Electric Cooperative.

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 16,035,530 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 4,239 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 28,911 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 226 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Intermountain Power Station

In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants.[6] Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.[7]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Intermountain Power Station

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 7 $50,000,000
Heart attacks 10 $1,200,000
Asthma attacks 160 $8,000
Hospital admissions 5 $110,000
Chronic bronchitis 5 $2,200,000
Asthma ER visits 6 $2,000

Source: "Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution," Clean Air Task Force interactive table, accessed February 2011

Coal Waste Sites

Intermountain ranked 82nd on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste

In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill.[8] The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.[9]

Intermountain Power Station ranked number 82 on the list, with 333,589 pounds of coal combustion waste released to surface impoundments in 2006.[8]

Coal Supplies

Coal for the Intermountain Power Station is purchased from coal mines in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming through the LADWP coal business group, and delivered to the plant by the Union Pacific Railroad. In 2010, Intermountain Power Station Corporation (IPSC) announced plans to accommodate changes in coal purchases that will require trains of over 120 cars.[10]

LADWP 2010 Integrated Resource Plan

The 2010 Integrated Resource Plan of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LDWP), a strategic plan for the next 20 years, recommended that LADWP add 630 new megawatts of solar capacity by 2020 and 970 megawatts of solar capacity by 2030. The plan recommended 580 megawatts of new wind power by 2020. The plan designated that 40 percent of solar be in-basin. It recommended incentive programs, feed-in tariff schemes, and other mechanisms for promoting solar. The plan recommended ending purchases of power from the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station by 2014, which is four years ahead of the deadline established by Senate Bill (SB) 1368. The plan models the Intermountain Power Station through 2027 but recommends ending use of power from the Intermountain Power Station by 2020. The plan states that "LADWP is open to a mutually agreeable early compliance plan between the project participants that preserves the site and transmission for clean fossil and renewable generation."[11][12]

However, it was reported in December 2010 that DWP may not reach its renewable energy goals set by Mayor Villaraigosa due to a lack of funding. DWP executives warned that they would not be able to sustain that achievement, let alone reach future goals, without guaranteed funding from taxpayers.[13]

Articles and Resources


  1. "EIA 923 July 2020" EIA 923 July 2020.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "EIA 860 Database", accessed October 18, 2020
  3. Amy Joi O'Donoghue, "Intermountain Power Project will shutter coal-fired power plant near Delta," Desert News Utah, May 23, 2017
  4. Roth, Sammy (2019-12-11). "Los Angeles wants to build a hydrogen-fueled power plant. It's never been done before". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-11-12.
  5. "About Us," Intermountain Power Service Corporatoin, accessed December 14, 2010
  6. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  7. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
  9. TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
  10. "Intermountain Railcar Sees Changes," IPSC Bulletin, 3rd Quarter 2010 Issue, accessed December 14, 2010
  11. "L.A.'s long-term electricity plan calls for earlier cutoff of coal, more solar," Solar Home & Business Journal, November 17, 2010
  12. Executive Summary, LADWP 2010 Integrated Resource Plan
  13. "DWP quietly scales back Villaraigosa's ambitious renewable energy goal" David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times, December 6, 2010.

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