Intermountain Power Project, Delta, Utah
The Intermountain Power Project, located ten miles south of Delta, Utah, is a coal-burning power plant that produces over 1,600 megawatts of power every day. This is enough to serve the needs of 480,000 average households. The power produced by the Intermountain Power Project, or IPP, goes to Los Angeles to help supply the growing need for electricity.
Construction for the IPP began in September of 1981, and the Intermountain Power Agency originally only built two units to turn burn coal to generate electricity. Now, due to the increasing reliance on electricity, the Intermountain Power Agency hopes to add a third unit to IPP in the next several years. However, IPP’s history of high emissions from their plants has created some backlash against the addition of the third unit.
Hazardous Emissions from Coal Burning
Coal burning for electricity comes as a catch-22. Although we cannot help but rely on electricity, the burning of coal for electricity can release hazardous toxins to the air. Not only can these emissions harm the environment, but they are also damaging to human health. In 2003, the IPP plant released the following:
- 15 million tons of carbon dioxide
- 3,400 tons of sulfur dioxide
- 27,000 tons of nitrogen oxide
Additionally, due to the old age of this power plant complex, it could be emitting another silent killer into the atmosphere: microscopic, carcinogenic asbestos fibers. Asbestos was once a popular insulating agent used to resist things like electricity, heat, and flame – and coal-burning power plants have all of these elements.
Even one moment of exposure to asbestos can leave you at risk for developing health problems like asbestosis and mesothelioma. If you have ever worked in or near an older power plant, you should let your doctor know immediately so that he or she can help you watch for cancer and other adverse health issues.