May 3 (Renewables Now) - Rio Tinto Plc (LON:RIO) plans to permanently shut down its coal-fired power plant in Utah and start buying renewable energy certificates in order to reduce the annual carbon footprint of its Kennecott Utah Copper facility.
The Anglo-Australian mining group said in a statement that Kennecott’s electricity needs will be covered by 1.5 million MWh of renewable energy certificates supplied by Rocky Mountain Power. The certificates will be sourced mainly from the latter’s Utah allocated portfolio, including wind power from Wyoming, according to the announcement.
Rio Tinto said that those changes should result in Kennecott reducing its annual carbon footprint by up to 65%.
The move is awaiting regulatory clearance from the Utah Public Service Commission. It is the result of collaboration with the state government, local communities and Rocky Mountain Power, aimed at improving air quality and delivering an alternative power solution, the miner noted.
Kennecott’s Utah power plant has been idle since 2017, having operated for 75 years before that. The facility was a four-unit, 175-MW thermal generator that could be fired with coal or natural gas.