Jim Bridger Steam Plant

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Jim Bridger Steam Plant is a 2,441.9-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power station operated by PacifiCorp near Point of Rocks, Wyoming.


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Plant Data

Retirement discussions

According to PacifiCorp's July 2019 draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), Units 1 and 2 were scheduled for retirement at the end of 2028 and 2032 respectively.[5] In a separate update of the economic analysis of the coal fleet, PacifiCorp stated that both units 1 and 2 were identified as being less economic to operate beyond 2022 than alternatives, making them candidates for earlier retirement.[6]

The company's final 2019 IRP, released in September 2019, planned for unit 1 to be retired in 2023, unit 2 in 2028,[7] and units 3-4 in 2037.[8]

Conversion of two units to fossil gas in 2024 appeared for the first time in the utility’s 2021 IRP, published in September 2021, in the midst of heated debate over compliance with EPA regulation and an impending December deadline. Switching to gas nullifies the coal-specific NOx control problem, but doing it in 2024 would mean a few years between the deadline and conversion.[9][10]

In August 2022, a prolonged drought along the Colorado River was causing states to make critical decisions about water use. Dozens of coal plants, including the Jim Bridger Steam Plant, were at risk of being cut off from the water supply and therefore forced to shut down. While retirement was still not slated until 2037, the planned updates to the plant's technology would use significantly more water than before. Even with the current technology, it was unknown whether there was enough water to keep the operation online over the long term.[11]

Pressure for Cleaner Energy from PacifiCorp

In 2006, PacifiCorp announced its intention to build a 600-800 MW expansion at the same site.[12][13]

On Jan. 18, 2007, the Oregon Public Utility Commission argued that PacifiCorp had failed to demonstrate a need for new coal-fired facilities in Wyoming and Utah. On June 7, PacifiCorp, based in Oregon, announced plans to build 1200 miles of transmission lines to connect the proposed plant to customers in three other states. The power produced at the Jim Bridger facility is primarily exported to the Northwest to supply power.[14]

On Nov. 28, 2007, PacifiCorp notified the Utah Public Service Commission that it was no longer pursuing this project, due to “the time frame and the uncertainty around coal, based on climate change issues.” Ultimately, PacifiCorp is concerned about potential for clean energy projects in the quest to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.[15][16]

Emissions Data

  • 2006 CO2 Emissions: 15,884,734 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions: 20,055 tons
  • 2006 SO2 Emissions per MWh:
  • 2006 NOx Emissions: 28,054 tons
  • 2005 Mercury Emissions: 388 lb.

Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Jim Bridger Steam Plant

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.[17] 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.[18]

Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Jim Bridger Steam Plant

Type of Impact Annual Incidence Valuation
Deaths 37 $270,000,000
Heart attacks 57 $6,300,000
Asthma attacks 720 $3,700
Hospital admissions 26 $600,000
Chronic bronchitis 25 $11,000,000
Asthma ER visits 33 $12,000

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

Citizen groups

Articles and Resources


Related GEM.wiki articles

External Articles

  1. "Pacificorp 10-k 2019" bkenergy.com accessed June 17,2020
  2. "Idaho Power executive says company on glide path away from coal" ieefa.org, Fabruary 11, 2019
  3. "Thermal" idohapower.com, accessed June 17, 2020
  4. "EIA 923 March 2020" EIA 923 2020.
  5. 2019 Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) Stakeholder Conference Call, PacifiCorp, July 18, 2019]
  6. "PacifiCorp updates economic analysis of coal fleet," PacifiCorp, April 25, 2019
  7. "PacifiCorp to add 7 GW renewables + storage, close 20 of 24 coal plants," Utility Dive, Oct 3, 2019
  8. Smith, Caleb Michael (2019-10-04). "PacifiCorp outlines phased closure of Jim Bridger Power Plant". rocketminer.com. Retrieved 2020-10-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. "Stakes, emotions mount as Bridger decision nears," Star Tribune, January 14, 2022
  10. "Integrated Resource Plan," PacifiCorp, 2021
  11. "How drought threatens electricity producing, coal-fired power plants," NPR, August 22, 2022
  12. Expansion Planned at Bridger Power Plant, Casper Star-Tribune, December 4, 2006.
  13. Western Resource Advocates website, accessed January 2008.
  14. PacifiCorp Announces Plant to Build 1,200 Miles of New Transmission Lines, Columbia Basin Energy Report, May 31, 2007.
  15. PacifiCorp Cancels Wyoming Coal Projects, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, December 11, 2007.
  16. "PacifiCorp labels coal a no-go for new plant," Ted Sickinger, The Oregonian, December 7, 2007
  17. "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
  18. "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010