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The Carbon plant’s annual contribution to this pollution is about 215 tons, including 58 pounds of mercury, 3,435 of lead and 322,000 of hydrochloric acid, according to EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory.
It is unlikely RMP will develop new coal plants for the foreseeable future, because it’s uncertain whether complying with new federal limits on carbon emissions would be in ratepayers’ best interests.
After decades of power production, Carbon Power Plant faces an early retirement
History » Utah Power and Light built the Carbon Power Plant in the 1950s near the Castle Gate coal mine, which has since closed. In the 1970s, after the Clean Air Act was enacted, the utility installed massive electrostatic precipitators to capture many pollutants.
Fueling the plant » Monday through Friday, 75 trucks deliver sub-bituminous coal, which is cleaner but produces less energy than other types, to feed the plant’s 1,800-tons-a-day appetite. Coal is fed into the plant on a conveyor system over U.S. Highway 191. A 30-day supply is piled on the site of the town that once housed those who labored in the nearby mines.
How it works » The pulverized coal is blown into 90-foot-high boilers to fuel a spinning fireball, plant manager Kyle Davis explains. The flames visible through tiny windows heat water in pipes that deliver the resulting steam to the turbines, whose fins are moving at the speed of sound. This steam-driven technology has changed very little over the past century, whether the fuel stock is coal, natural gas or uranium rods.
"Carbon capture technology is not mature enough," Eskelsen said. "We were not able to tell our regulators what a coal[-burning] unit would cost long term."
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