June’s Emery County Business Chamber Lunch and Learn featured a field trip to the Hunter Power Plant on Wednesday. Chamber members, as well as the community as a whole, was invited to enjoy a presentation and tour of the plant.
The afternoon began with lunch and a presentation by Laren Huntsman, Hunter Power Plant Manager. He began with a brief history of the plant, beginning with its construction, which involved thousands of workers throughout the process. The first unit came online in 1978, followed by the second unit in 1980 and the third in 1983.
Units one and two at Hunter produce 450 megawatts each, and unit three produces 470 megawatts, which is enough to power 1.2 million homes. This energy is transferred to the grid that powers the western United States, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Utah. Parts of other western states as well as a portion of Mexico also receive power from this grid.
The grid is large but stable, Huntsman explained. The power on the grid is constantly adjusted based on usage, and the Hunter Plant ramps either up or down based on demand. The plant also adjusts its production based on the amount of renewable energy entering the grid at any given time.
Currently, the Hunter Power Plant employs 186 full-time employees. The plant also works with nearly 40 contractors throughout its operation while hundreds of support jobs span local communities. Huntsman said that in a single day, as many as 600 coal trucks deliver to the plant, providing jobs for not only drivers, but those who mine the coal. The Hunter Plant currently sources much of its coal locally from surrounding mines.
Following Huntsman’s presentation, those in attendance were separated into groups and assigned a tour guide. The groups were then led through the plant and given a change to ask questions.