Natural Gas Most Likely To Replace Coal At Big Power Plant

2011-5-4

The owner of the biggest coal-burning power plant in the Northwest is pondering how to replace its fuel source now that coal is officially on the outs in Washington state.

Governor Chris Gregoire went to the Centralia coal plant Friday to sign into law a gradual phase out of coal-fired electricity generation.

She was welcomed by TransAlta Corporation president Steve Sndyer. He says he appreciates getting lots of time to make what he calls an "orderly" transition to cleaner fuels.

Steve Snyder: "We certainly would like to look at natural gas for this facility. We have a tremendous work force here. They do a great job for us and we want to utilize them as we go forward, certainly beyond 2020/2025."

The legislation signed by the governor requires TransAlta to cut its coal use in half by 2020 and phase out coal-burning entirely by 2025.

The Centralia coal plant is currently the single largest source of global warming pollution in Washington.

Previously, Portland General Electric agreed to shut down the Northwest’s other major coal-burning power plant. That one in Boardman, Oregon closes down by 2020.

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