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Utility, leery of EPA, eyes Wyoming’s first natural gas power plant in coal-crazed state

Black Hills Power, a South Dakota utility with offices in Denver, filed papers Tuesday to shut down three aging coal-fired power plants in Wyoming and build a new natural gas-powered plant in Cheyenne – the first of its kind in the coal-dominated state. According to the Casper Star Tribune , Black Hills is making the $237 million move in anticipation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules regulating mercury and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants

Jul 31, 2020
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Black Hills Power, a South Dakota utility with offices in Denver, filed papers Tuesday to shut down three aging coal-fired power plants in Wyoming and build a new natural gas-powered plant in Cheyenne – the first of its kind in the coal-dominated state.
According to the Casper Star Tribune, Black Hills is making the $237 million move in anticipation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules regulating mercury and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-fired power plants. About 90 percent of the electricity generated in Wyoming comes from coal, which is abundant and cheap in the Powder River Basin.
Coal_2603.jpg
Coal_2603.jpg
But an official for Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power, which is partnering with Black Hills on the new gas plant, expressed concern about getting federal permits for a new coal-fired power plant. Natural gas burns about 50 percent cleaner than coal, according to the EPA, and CO2 is the main component of greenhouse gases widely believed by most scientists to be causing global warming.
Black Hills Power Vice President for Operations Chuck Loomis told the Star Tribune that, if approved by state regulators, the company will begin construction on the new 132-megawatt gas-powered plant in 2012 and hopefully have it up and running in 2014.
“It was our determination that joining with Cheyenne Light, Fuel, and Power for constructing a combined cycle unit in Cheyenne was our best option,” Loomis told the paper.
Black Hills Energysupplies electricity to about 94,000 customers in southeastern Colorado. It’s the only other publicly traded utility in the state besides the dominant Minnesota-based Xcel Energy, which is shutting down numerous coal-fired power plants along the Front Range and converting some to natural gas and renewable sources.
But with the shift away from coal mandated by Colorado’s Clean Air, Clean Jobs Act, environmental groups are increasingly concerned about the impacts to air and water quality from a surging natural gas industryin the state.
Many citizens’ groups and conservation advocates in Colorado are looking to Gov. John Hickenlooper to strengthen oil and gas drilling regulationsin the state.
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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