Written March 31
Today’s news that Rocky Mountain Power will all but abandon coal powered electrical generation in Wyoming by 2030 is unwelcome, but not unexpected. Rocky Mountain Power has to make business decisions based on what they believe is best for their shareholders, but here in Sweetwater County it is a bitter pill.
2030 is not far away, but in the meantime Sweetwater County will continue to work toward energy and economic diversification.
The plan to convert some units to natural gas rather than shut them down is good news, but it is only a partial reprieve. The planned addition of a nuclear power plant in neighboring Lincoln County also helps, but its overall impact is still relatively unknown and the timeline is uncertain.
While the demand for coal may be waning, the projected demand for trona continues to grow, and there is potentially billions of dollars of investment entering our economy to support it.
Additionally, the demand for carbon capture is very real, and Sweetwater County is on the forefront of that developing technology, with Project Bison planning to be in operation by the end of next year hitting sequestration targets.
Last, but certainly not least, manufacturing is slowly but surely growing in Sweetwater County. KelTec’s new plant is moving forward, and other manufacturers have expressed interest in joining our community.
None of these industries are magic bullets that will solve all of our economic growth demands, but each can be an important piece of the puzzle. The needs for economic growth in Sweetwater County are great, but the Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition, with the support of the Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners, is working hard to meet them.