PacifiCorp, the parent company of Wyoming's Rocky Mountain Power, has submitted an updated 20-year energy plan to several Western U.S. public utility regulators. The new roadmap offers some optimism for Wyoming's struggling Powder River Basin coal region.

The updated Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) includes extensions to the operational life of certain coal-fired power plants due to less restrictive changes to the EPA's proposed "ozone transport rule." The rule would have imposed tough operating criteria on two coal-fired plants in Utah, potentially limiting their operating hours.

The updated IRP extends the retirement of the Hunter plant in Utah by at least a decade and the Huntington plant by four years. In Wyoming, the retirement of units 3 and 4 at the Jim Bridger power plant has been pushed to 2039, with plans to retrofit them with carbon capture technology in 2028.

While the IRP continues to show significant investments in wind, solar, storage, and energy efficiency over the next two decades, the extensions given to coal-fired plants provide some relief to Wyoming's coal sector.

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