Rio Tinto Kennecott retires Utah Power Plant

SOUTH JORDAN, UTAH, May 1, 2019 — After 75 years of operation, Rio Tinto Kennecott is retiring the Utah Power Plant located in Magna, Utah. Following regulatory approval, Kennecott will pair 1.5 million megawatt hours of electricity with Green-e Energy certified carbon-free renewable energy certificates, primarily from Rocky Mountain Power’s growing portfolio of wind and solar resources.

The plant retirement and acquisition of renewable energy certificates will remove more than 1 million tons of CO2 from Kennecott’s Wasatch Front operations and reduce its annual carbon footprint by as much as 65 percent. This is an important milestone in achieving Rio Tinto’s goal of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Rio Tinto Kennecott Managing Director Marc Cameron said, “Retiring our power plant is an important milestone for our business because it will immediately reduce our emissions to the local airshed, and I’m proud that Kennecott is a leader in pairing our electrical needs with carbon free renewable energy certificates.”

Since the early 1990s, Kennecott has proactively idled the plant each winter to reduce emissions during winter time inversions. Instead of starting the power plant up again this spring, the company decided to retire the plant and collaborate with the local utility, local government and communities to deliver an alternative and reliable power solution.

Utah State Governor Gary R. Herbert said, “Rio Tinto’s decision to retire their power plant is a win-win for our community. Their decision will simultaneously support Utah’s shift toward a low carbon economy and improve air quality in the Salt Lake Valley.”

Rocky Mountain Power CEO Gary Hoogeveen said “This latest initiative between Kennecott, Rocky Mountain Power, and our community leaders shows how continued collaboration leads to great solutions for our customers and the environment.”

Kennecott’s Utah Power Plant was a four-unit, 175 megawatt thermal generator that could be fired with coal or natural gas. Put into operation in 1943 to help serve the Allied war effort, Kennecott’s power plant has served as a reliable and important source of power to the mining business, contributed to the production of millions of tons of copper that has advanced human progress, and has been the site of numerous safety achievements.

There will be no job impacts as a result of the power plant retirement.

Kyle Bennett
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