Historical Society Learns About the Carbon Plant


For its February meeting, the Carbon County Historical Society welcomed Dean Marchello to speak on the history of the Carbon Power Plant.

Marchello worked for PacifiCorp for 41 years and over 30 of those were spent at the Carbon Plant. He stated that it was an older plant and there were not many that wished to work there. Some had heard that the plant was going to close down for years, though it continued to operate.

While working, he gathered photos of the plant being constructed. From there, he took his own photos of the plant in different areas and time frames. He has accumulated thousands of photos, which he composed into a slideshow for the society.

The plant consisted of two fossil fuel geothermal generation units. The construction on unit one began May 21, 1953 and cost $12 million to build, with a 72 megawatt gross. It went commercial on Nov. 26, 1954, meaning it took approximately 1.5 years to get the power plant online.

Unit two’s construction began on April 9, 1956 and cost $14 million to build. It was capable of 112 megawatts and went commercial on Sept. 11, 1957.

Fuel for the plant was bituminous-type coal. The Carbon Plant used two million gallons of water per day out of the Scofield Reservoir, with 58,000 of those gallons recirculated at all times.

The Carbon Plant burned coal to generate steam to generate electricity. Inside of the plant, a lot of the equipment was doubled to keep the units running. About 1,800 tons of coal per day were burned between the two units, which was 39 tons per unit, per hour. For an average year, about 600,000 tons were burned.

Marchello informed the society that unit two had a basement underneath and half of it was a bomb shelter, while the other half housed parts and other needed items. Up until the 1990s, the food storage in the bomb shelter was still there. After that, it was cleaned out and room was made for parts that needed to be out of the weather.

In 61 years, the plant had nearly 700 employees, not counting contractors. The plant closed on April 15, 2015 and had about 60 employees, 12 of whom were contractors. Following this information, Marchello presented the slideshow of his photos and walked the society through each one.

The Carbon County Historical Society meets at the senior center on the last Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. For March, members will be learning about coal mine strikes.

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