How coal plants are contributing to the drought

Power production from coal and natural gas needs large amounts of water to create the steam that drives turbines, and even more water to cool a plant’s condensers. But burning those fossil fuels is helping to drive a climate crisis that makes water and precipitation increasingly scarce in Utaha Salt Lake Tribune article says on the movement to switch to greener energy as a drought mitigation strategy.

The same article says that Rocky Mountain Power uses about 26 million gallons a day across its facilities. This is a massive amount of water to use, drought or not, to fuel climate change contributing processes.

Some see carbon capture, a process of capturing a power plant’s carbon dioxide emissions and storing them underground, as a solution to reducing climate change caused by coal. Carbon capture, however, doubles the amount of water a plant uses. 

The good news is this is not an issue going unnoticed. A number of plants are due to, or have already, shut down or transitioned to cleaner energy due to emission regulations. There has also been an influx of bills aimed at protecting water resources. This includes the 2019 Community Renewable Energy Act, which saw cities and counties pledge to be 100% renewable by 2030

Bonanza Power Plant in Uintah County, Utah is likely to close in 2030 over emission controls. Owned by the Deseret Power Electric Cooperative.

2030 is the goal year for a variety of environmental initiatives. UPHE is part of the Utah 30×30 coalition to protect our local resources. Click here for more about the Utah 30×30

Click here for the Salt Lake Tribune article.