ROCK SPRINGS – PacifiCorp plans to close Jim Bridger Power Plant Unit 1 by the end of December 2023, according to a draft action plan released Thursday. Multiple scenarios were explored, and under the preferred portfolio, Jim Bridger Unit 2 will close by 2028 and Units 3 and 4 will operate through 2037. The decisions come as the company said it is investing more in “wind and transmission, while adding significant new solar and battery resources.”

On Tuesday, PacifiCorp presented its final modeling results, a draft preferred portfolio and draft action plan. The proposed plan is to retire multiple units, convert the previously closed Naughton Unit 3 in Kemmerer to natural gas, and construct a 400-mile transmission line from the Aeolus substation near Medicine Bow to the Clover substation near Mona, Utah, along with additional transmission upgrades.

Steps under the presented timeline include:

-- Begin the process of retiring Jim Bridger Unit 1 by the end of 2023, including completion of all required regulatory notices and filings.

-- By the end of Q2 2020: File a request with PacifiCorp transmission to study the year-end 2023 retirement of Jim Bridger Unit 1.

-- By the end of Q2 2021: Confirm transmission system reliability assessment and year-end 2023 retirement economics in 2021 integrated resource plan filing; finalize an employee transition plan; and develop a community action plan in coordination with community leaders.

-- By the end of Q4 2021: Initiate the process with the Wyoming Public Service Commission for approval of a reverse request for proposals for a potential sale of Jim Bridger Unit 1.

-- By the end of Q4 2023: Administer termination, amendment, or close-out of existing permits, contracts, and other agreements.


According to the draft action plan, PacifiCorp also plans to retire Naughton Units 1 and 2 and Craig Unit 1 by the end of December 2025.

The announcements come as the company plans to rely more on solar and wind power. It predicts that coal unit retirements exceed 1,457 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2025, 2,874 MW by the end of 2030, and 4,485 MW by the end of 2038.

“Coal resources have been an important resource in PacifiCorp’s portfolio and will continue to play an important role as units approach retirement dates,” the document overview states.

Through the end of 2023, the action plan window, “the preferred portfolio includes 1,821 MW of new solar and 1,989 MW of new wind (not contracted or under construction). Through 2038, the preferred portfolio includes 5,186 MW of new solar and 3,110 MW of new wind (not contracted or under construction).”

PacifiCorp noted that the preferred portfolio includes battery storage resources for the first time.

“Through the end of 2023, the preferred portfolio include 595 MW of battery storage capacity —all of this capacity is combined with new solar resources. Through 2038, the preferred portfolio includes 2,821 MW of battery storage capacity — 1,456 MW is combined with new solar,” the document states.

In late April, company executives visiting Rock Springs said a coal analysis indicated that retiring Jim Bridger Units1 and 2 by 2022 would save customers about $248 million. Since then, Rick Link, PacifiCorp vice president of resource planning and acquisitions, said the company did more research and concluded there would be potential savings for customers if the company phases in the closures.

In September, WyoFile reported that a company analysis estimated PacifiCorp and its 1.9 million utility customers could save up to $599 million by retiring several coal-fired electrical generating units in Wyoming and elsewhere — including early closures at the Jim Bridger and Naughton plants.

The development of the portfolios and draft plans are part of PacifiCorp’s integrated resource plan, which is updated every two years. It is designed to be a support tool and roadmap for meeting the company’s goal of providing reliable, cost-effective energy to its customers while addressing the risks and unknowns in the utilities sector, according to Rocky Mountain Power. The IRP will be filed Oct. 18.

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