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Dave Johnston

The stacks of the Dave Johnston Power Plant are seen in February 2018. Companies are looking into building carbon capture at the plant.

The Natrona County Commissioners have thrown their support behind projects involving coal-fired power generation facilities for carbon capture and CO2 utilization.

The commissioners passed a resolution last week stating that such projects will “enhance oil recovery, provide jobs, provide taxes and wealth from Wyoming coal and oil fields while generating low cost power to Wyoming citizens.”

Commissioner Forest Chadwick said Monday that the commissioners are concerned about the future of the Dave Johnston Power Plant, a coal plant just outside Glenrock.

Its useful life will end in 2027, Chadwick said, and Rocky Mountain Power — which owns the plant — has already stated its intentions to move toward renewable energy sources. If the plant closes, many jobs will be lost and the entire area will take a significant hit, the commissioner said.

“That whole thing concerns us,” Chadwick said, explaining that many of those employees shop or reside in Casper. “It will have an effect on not only Glenrock but also Casper.”

Rather than the plant shutting down in eight years, the commissioners would prefer for a carbon capture and storage project to be implemented at the facility so it would remain open. Terry Manning, the CEO of Glenrock Petroleum, encouraged the commissioners to advocate for carbon capture and CO2 utilization at a work session last month.

Doing so could potentially “save the town of Glenrock,” he said.

Manning described carbon capture as the removal of CO2 from anthropogenic sources.

“That is a big word to mean any industrial source that pumps CO2 up the stack and into the atmosphere,” he said.

Manning said CO2 has many potential uses.

“CO2 industrially can be combined with other chemicals, can be further fractioned or can be put into a large number of chemical-making processes,” he said.

According to its website, Glenrock Petroleum seeks to become “the nation’s first carbon-negative upstream E and P company” and to “preserve and build Glenrock’s future.”

The Wyoming Legislature is currently looking at ways to prevent the closure of coal-fired plants throughout the state. Lawmakers are considering a bill — Senate File 159 — that would push utilities like Rocky Mountain Power to sell coal-fired power plants rather than closing them.

In a previous interview with the Star-Tribune, Dan Dockstader, R-Afton, said that he wanted to address the importance of the jobs associated with Wyoming’s power plants.

“This bill brings a possible solution for our Wyoming workers and the communities they call home,” he said.

But Dave Eskelsen, a spokesman for Rocky Mountain Power, previously said the bill has raised some concerns.

“Rocky Mountain Power has a good history of working with all elected officials to inform them of the pricing and service implications of proposed changes to utility policies,” he wrote in an email to the Star-Tribune. “Wyoming SF 159 brings up some very complicated issues at the core of providing reliable and affordable electric service for our customers.”

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Follow city reporter Katie King on twitter @KatieKingCST

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Local Government Reporter

Katie King joined the Star-Tribune in 2017 and primarily covers issues related to local government. She previously worked as a crime reporter in the British Virgin Islands. Originally from Virginia, Katie is a graduate of James Madison University.

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