Engineered for the Environment
Our coal plants meet all the state and federal emission limits. Plant design features, fuel supply and plant operating practices play a role in controlling air pollutants that could be emitted.
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) are two gases produced when coal is burned that are believed to contribute to acid rain and the greenhouse effect. Idaho Power uses only low-sulfur coal, which reduces these gases. Additionally, at Bridger and North Valmy Unit 2, scrubbers remove sulfur dioxide after the coal is burned.
Fly ash is another concern. Electrostatic precipitators or baghouses prevent more than 99 percent of fly ash from reaching the atmosphere. Some recycled fly ash is used for concrete and road construction material and as fill to prevent soil erosion.
Comprehensive ecological programs monitor plant impact on soils, vegetation, waterfowl, birds of prey and fish in the area.
Coal is nature's energy storehouse. This geologic legacy is the foundation of Idaho Power's three coal-fired plants: the Jim Bridger Power Plant in Wyoming, the Boardman Coal Plant in Oregon, and the North Valmy Generating Station in Nevada. These facilities convert one of nature's most bountiful energy sources into reliable, low-cost electricity while adhering to some of the strictest standards for protecting the environment.
Named after the renowned explorer and mountain man, Jim Bridger, the plant employs approximately 360 people and is owned by Idaho Power (one-third) and PacifiCorp (two-thirds). Each of the four turbine-generator sets has a nameplate rating of about 530 megawatts (MW). Idaho Power's share of the plant's production is 704 MW.
Its boilers each burn over 500,000 pounds of coal per-hour to produce 4,000,000 pounds of steam an hour. This steam drives the turbines. Water for the plant comes from the Green River through a 40-mile-long steel pipeline to a reservoir at the plant site.
Sub-bituminous coal which fuels the plant is delivered by an overland conveyor from the Bridger Mine or by train and truck.
Idaho Power owns 10 percent of the plant; Portland General Electric (PGE) owns the remaining 90 percent.
The plant currently has 120 employees and is located 13 miles southwest of Boardman, Oregon, in north central Oregon. Many consider Boardman to be one of the nation's cleanest coal plants.
Cooling water comes from Carty Reservoir, a 1,450-acre pond that reduces the need for cooling water from natural streams or rivers. This avoids potential discharges that might have an impact on fish and wildlife. At 656-feet, the plant's chimney is Oregon's tallest man-made structure, with a base diameter of 48 feet and a top diameter of 30 feet.
The boiler consumes 5.1 billion Btu per hour through coal combustion to produce 3.8 million pounds an hour of 1,005-degree Fahrenheit steam. The plant can generate up to 575 megawatts of electricity per hour. Idaho Power’s share is 57.5 MW.
Converting coal into reliable, low-cost energy is a full-time job at North Valmy. Twenty-four-hours-a-day, 365-days-a-year, it generates the electricity customers depend on to run their homes and businesses. At the same time, all plant operations place a strong emphasis in protecting the environment.
Cooling water comes from three well fields located adjacent to the plant.
Ownership is shared equally by Idaho Power and Sierra Pacific. Sierra Pacific is responsible for plant operations and employs approximately 106 people on-site.
The low-sulfur coal used at the plant comes from Utah or Wyoming. The plant can generate up to 260 MW for Idaho Power customers.