Sierra Club cries foul over PacifiCorp coal study secrecy
- The Sierra Club is protesting the "troubling" decision by PacifiCorp to require nondisclosure agreements before stakeholders review the utility's coal plant analysis as part of its integrated resource plan (IRP) proceeding.
- The Oregon Public Utilities Commission (PUC) last year directed PacifiCorp to complete a comprehensive review of the cost of the utility's coal resources. That review is expected to be presented at PacifiCorp's 2019 IRP stakeholder meeting on June 28-29.
- The Sierra Club says keeping the results of the economic analysis confidential runs contrary to regulators' directions, and threatened in a letter to the PUC to "formally challenge any overbroad or improper claim of confidentiality."
The Sierra Club celebrated last year when the Oregon PUC directed PacifiCorp to undertake its coal review, saying customers had "demanded to know if the cost of its coal fleet is in their best interest." But in a letter to regulators this week, the environmental group sounded the alarm over efforts by the utility to keep some information private.
The group claims that PacifiCorp "may attempt to hide from the public information shareholders might find distasteful, e.g., information that simply reflects poor decision-making."
The coal plant review came alongside the PUC's decision in December to acknowledge PacifiCorp's $3 billon wind proposal. The utility wants to invest in 1.2 GW of wind, with a long-term plan that includes more than 3 GW of renewable resources. However, PacifiCorp still has coal resources located in Colorado, Montana and Arizona; the Oregon review is related to the IRP to serve the utility's six-state territory.
According to the Sierra Club, Oregon regulators "already determined that the disclosures supporting the coal plant analysis are in the public interest." The group vowed to formally challenge with the commission any "legally dubious steps [by Pacificorp] to limit the public’s access to its coal plant economic analysis."
The Sierra Club claims that 40% of PacifiCorp's coal fleet is uneconomical.
The conservation group says units that are no longer in customers' best interest include: Unit 4 at Cholla Power Plant in Arizona; Units 1 and 2 at Craig Station in Colorado; Units 1 and 2 at Hayden Generating Station in Colorado; Units 3 and 4 at the Bridger Power Plant in Wyoming; and Units 1 and 2 at the Naughton Plant, also in Wyoming.
Follow Robert Walton on Twitter