Coal Age

OCT 2015

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Page 9 of 51

n e w s c o n t i n u e d The PRB coal will be blended with higher-sulfur Appalachian c oal in Oak Creek Units 1 and 2, which have a combined generat- i ng capacity of 1,230 megawatts. According to the utility, fuel savings could amount to $31 mil- lion annually if Oak Creek is able to burn a blend of 60% PRB coal as a result of the coal storage expansion. Savings could amount to $78 million a year if the PRB share rises to 100%. Currently, the plant burns approximately 20% PRB coal. Once the stockpile area is increased, We Energies expects to receive one additional coal train a week at Oak Creek. O ak Creek's two newest generating units, placed in operation during the past few years, burn about 3.3 million tons of coal annu- ally. The plant's older units burn about 3.1 million tons a year. Colowyo's Mine Plan Approved The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved and signed a modified mine plan for Colowyo mine, which was subject to a fed- eral district court order requiring the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to update its environmental review of the mine. In addition to the new mining plan, on August 31, the OSM completed a new environmental assessment for the mine, result- ing in a finding of no significant impact on the environment from mining operations. The approval of the new mine plan completes the effort by OSM to comply with the court's May 8 order to complete the envi- ronmental review within 120 days. OSM's counsel has notified the court that it has completed the environmental review and approved a modified mining plan. "We are grateful to the staff at OSM and the other cooperating agencies for their diligence and hard work to complete the environ- mental review within the short timeframe ordered by the judge," said Mike McInnes, CEO of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which owns the Colowyo mine through its subsidiary, Colowyo Coal Co. "The unwavering support we have received from our 220 mine employees, the community and elected officials across Colorado helped ensure the Department of the Interior, from Secretary Jewell down, committed the resources and time necessary to complete this important work." Colowyo Coal Co. believes the new mine plan allows the mine to continue to operate, and the completion of the environmental assessment, which resulted in a finding of no significant impact on the environment and mining operations, will satisfy the court, but it is uncertain how the court will proceed. "The approval of the new plan should provide our employees and the residents of Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties with the confidence to move forward and focus on the future," said Chris McCourt, manager of the Colowyo mine. Located in north- west Colorado, Colowyo produces more than 2 million tons of low sulfur, subbituminous coal annually and is currently one of two primary fuel sources for the Craig Station power plant near Craig, Colorado. In February 2013, WildEarth Guardians sued OSM claiming that the agency failed to adequately provide public notice and address environmental impacts prior to mine plan approvals for seven coal mines in the western U.S., including Colowyo. Specifically, the environmental activists claimed the Environmental Assessment that OSM prepared to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act for the Colowyo mine plan was SaskPower announced a partnership to accelerate the global devel- opment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology by sharing access to the data, information and lessons learned from SaskPower's Boundary Dam facility — the world's first full chain power sector CCS project. U nder the agreement signed by the two companies, and subject to contractual terms, BHP Billiton would contribute to the establish- ment of a global knowledge center to help promote research and reduce the cost and risk associated with new CCS projects. BHP Billiton Chief Commercial Officer Dean Dalla Valle said he was excited that the company was working with SaskPower to support efforts to reduce the world's emissions. "The individual components of CCS have been successfully demonstrated for many years, but Boundary Dam is the first power project to bring all these together. Much more investment and many more projects are needed to bring down the cost of technology and accelerate its deployment," Dalla Valle said. "By making relevant information from Boundary Dam more widely available, we hope our contribution has a multiplier effect and promotes CCS investment around the world." Wyoming, China Reps Building Bridge of Coal A group of delegates from the University of Wyoming (UW), joined by local legislators, recently teamed up with representatives of one of China's biggest coal regions on ways to collaborate for clean coal and coal conversion technologies. The group, accompanied by Sens. Michael Von Flatern and Jeff Wasserburger of Campbell County, Wyoming, attended meetings and held discussions with their Chinese counterparts and industry officials during the fifth China International Energy Industry Expo and Low Carbon Development Summit Forum in Taiyuan in the Shanxi Province. UW officials said the Chinese delegation is interested in the school's carbon engineering program and have invited its researchers to apply for funding under Shanxi's domestic and inter- national programs — with Wyoming being the first to receive an invitation for domestic funding. The gathering also identified opportunities for foreign invest- ments for research based at UW as well as ways to collaborate on carbon engineering technological approaches, findings from the UW Rock Springs Uplift carbon dioxide sequestration site, challenges of new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, the importance of Powder River Basin (PRB) coal mining and Wyoming's resource and educational reach globally. Mark Northam, director of University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, delivered a keynote address to 800 at the global forum at the invitation of the Shanxi Provincial Science and Technology Institute. Demand for coal in China, as in Wyoming, is in decline as utilities are seeking reductions in carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants in response to government regulation and market changes [and] like Wyoming, Shanxi Province is concerned about revenue losses related to the coal industry's downturn," UW officials said. "Although their populations differ significantly in size, Shanxi Province and Wyoming both depend largely on coal and other mineral production to drive their economies. Continued from p. 6... 8 October 2015 ˛

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