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Utah Coal Plant Proposals

Utah currently receives approximately 95 percent of its electricity from coal-fired power plants, and plans are in place to build more. Here is a list of the current proposals. Follow the links to find out more about each proposal and what efforts are underway to oppose them:

1. Sigurd
2. Hunter 4
3. Bonanza

1. Sigurd


Location: Sigurd

Company: Sevier Power Company

Type: Circulating fluidized bed (CFB)

Megawatts (MW): 270

Customer: Merchant Power Provider

More information: The Sevier Power coal plant has the potential to emit 100 or more tons per year of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, and would emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, contributing to global climate change. The emissions from the plant would affect visibility and air quality at Utah’s five national parks. Local residents have formed a group, Sevier Citizens for Clean Air and Water, to oppose the construction of the Sevier Power coal plant. The Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club has joined in their efforts and is actively opposing the construction of the plant, as well as the other three proposed coal plants in Utah.
In 2007, the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club appealed the Sevier air permit issued by Utah’s Department of Air Quality to the Utah Air Quality Board.  he Air Quality Board upheld all aspects of the permit and the appeal was dismissed.  The Sierra Club appealed that decision to the Utah Supreme Court. Oral arguments were held at the Utah Supreme Court on October 9, 2008. A decision on this case is expected by fall 2009. This appeal is the first of its kind to go before a state supreme court to hold power companies accountable for carbon dioxide emissions. If successful, the cases will set an precedent for other states to deny permits for coal plants due to concerns over greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
In a second appeal, Sevier Citizens for Clean Air and Water argues that the air permit should be revoked based Sevier Power’s failure to commence construction within 18 months after the air permit was initially granted almost 4 years ago. To this date, construction has not started on the facility.
Sevier Citizens for Clean Air and Water has worked tirelessly to keep an initiative on the November 2008 ballot that would require voter approval prior to the issuance of a conditional use permit for a coal power plant in Sevier County.  Thanks to their efforts, the Utah Supreme Court ruled to keep the initiative on the ballot after hearing oral arguments on Wednesday October 8th.

Contact: Mark Clemens with the Utah Smart Energy Campaign at mark.clemens@sierraclub.org.

2. Hunter 4


Location: Huntington

Company: PacifiCorp

Type: Conventional pulverized coal

Megawatts (MW): 400

Customer: Pacificorp

More information: The first two units of the Hunter power plant were built in 1980, and the third was constructed in 1983. 24 years later, PacifiCorp is looking to construct a fourth unit with old coal technologies, when new technological innovations make cleaner energy possible. The total cost of the plant is estimated to be $800 million. Originally, Hunter 4 was scheduled to come online in 2011, but PacifiCorp has indicated that this will no longer be possible and has postponed the project until further notice. The emissions from the plant would affect visibility and environmental quality at Utah’s five national parks, in addition to the residents in the surrounding areas. The Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club is actively opposing the construction of the plant, as well as of the other three proposed coal plants in Utah, through grassroots organizing, education and involvement with the legal proceedings.

Contact: Mark Clemens with the Utah Smart Energy Campaign at mark.clemens@sierraclub.org.

3. Bonanza


Location: Bonanza

Company: Desert Generation and Transmission

Type: Circulating fluidized bed (CFB)

Megawatts (MW): 80

Customer: Utah Electric Cooperatives

More information: The Bonanza plant, if constructed, would release 715,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 1,038 tons of sulfur dioxide, 5,692 tons of nitrous oxides and 36 pounds of mercury per year. These pollutants would affect almost 10,000 children in an area already suffering from high chronic asthma rates. In addition, the emissions from the plant would affect visibility and air quality at Utah’s five national parks. The Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club is actively opposing the construction of the plant, as well as of the other three proposed coal plants in Utah, through grassroots organizing, education and involvement with the legal proceedings.
The Sierra Club has challenged the EPA’s issuance of an air permit due to its failure to regulate CO2. Their appeal of the air permit is based on the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts vs. EPA which determined that carbon dioxide must be regulated nationally as a criteria pollutant. The Sierra Club contends that the plant’s air permit was wrongly approved by the EPA and should therefore be revoked. A decision is expected from the Environmental Appeals Board before the end of 2008 and will likely be appealed in federal court. The decision on this case will have lasting implications for the energy sector and coal plant proposals across the country.

Contact: Mark Clemens with the Utah Smart Energy Campaign at mark.clemens@sierraclub.org.