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Wyoming utility regulators discuss implementing carbon capture

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Rocky Mountain Power

Wyoming state law requires public utilities to make a plan for using carbon capture to produce some of their energy, and state utility regulators are still figuring out how to do that.

The Wyoming Public Service Commission deliberated Rocky Mountain Power’s initial application that outlines the logistics of introducing carbon capture technology to some of their coal fired plants in the state, which is now required under House Bill 200. Some see carbon capture as a way to meet climate goals, while still using coal.

Earlier this fall, Rocky Mountain Power testified the transition would be costly to customers and likely reduce the reliability of the plants. Even so, Commissioner Mary Throne said moving forward with a plan is necessary.

“It's not optional. Any reluctance on the part of the company or parties is really just not relevant. The statute is what the statute is,” she said. “We have to continue the process in our attempts to implement the goals set forth by the legislature.”

The commission is tasked with determining what percentage of a utilities’ energy production should include carbon capture; however, they chose not to set that standard quite yet.

“I don't believe that that is realistic to do at this time, we simply do not have a sufficient basis to make a judgment on that,” said Commissioner Chris Petrie.

The commissioners moved to extend the final deadline for Rocky Mountain Power’s application by a year to March 2024. They will submit an update in the early spring.

Caitlin Tan is the Energy and Natural Resources reporter based in Sublette County, Wyoming. Since graduating from the University of Wyoming in 2017, she’s reported on salmon in Alaska, folkways in Appalachia and helped produce 'All Things Considered' in Washington D.C. She formerly co-hosted the podcast ‘Inside Appalachia.' You can typically find her outside in the mountains with her two dogs.
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