PacifiCorp highlights wind, solar, storage additions and coal subtraction in latest resource plan

West coast utility PacifiCorp released its draft of a long-term energy plan that calls for retiring five coal-fired units in the next decade and adding more than 6,000 MW of wind and solar over the next six years.

The draft of PacifiCorp’s 2019 Integrated Resource Plan forecasts how the company hopes to generate power and meet customer needs cost-effectively over the next 20 years. The utility will file its final version with state regulators later this month.

“The transition in how we meet our customers’ energy needs is under way,” said Rick Link, PacifiCorp’s vice president of resource planning and acquisitions. “With a focus on lower-cost renewable resources and strategic transmission investments, this plan allows us to continue to deliver the reliable and low-cost energy our customers need as we embark on a phased and well-managed coal transition that minimizes impacts to our thermal operations workforce and communities.”

PacifiCorp plans to add more than 3,000 MW of new wind generation by 2025 and 4,600 MW by 2038. Part of that is under construction in Wyoming, while some of the wind capacity will be acquired through customer partnerships.

New solar and battery storage totaling 3,600 MW is expected to be online by 2025. The utility predicts it will have a total of more than 9,000 MW in solar and storage by 2038.

In the meantime, PacifiCorp plans to retire five plants by 2028, some of which were originally scheduled to stay in operation at least a decade longer. Those include:

  • Jim Bridger 1 in 2023 instead of 2037
  • Naughton 1 and 2 in 2025 instead of 2029
  • Craig 2 in 2026 instead of 2034
  • Colstrip 3 and 4 in 2027 instead of 2046
  • Jim Bridger 2 in 2028 instead of 2037

“Coal generation has been an important resource in our portfolio, allowing us to deliver reliable energy to our customers, and will continue to play an important role as units approach retirement dates,” Link said. “At the same time, this plan reflects the ongoing cost pressure on coal as wind generation, solar generation and storage have emerged as low-cost resource options for our customers.”

PacifiCorp’s summary of draft resource plan, however, does not mention forecasts about its hydroelectric generation mix. The company has 41 hydro plants generating 1,100 MW of electricity.

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