GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — A Wyoming coal company is planning to export coal from its mine in Montana to power two coal-fired plants under construction in Japan.
Cloud Peak Energy on Tuesday announced the agreement with Singapore-based JERA Trading to supply the coal over 30 to 40 months beginning at the end 2019.
The coal is expected to be transported by rail from the company's Spring Creek mine near Decker, Montana, to port in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The coal would then be shipped to the plants in the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan.
The two 540-megawatt plants are being built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industrials and convert the coal into a synthetic natural gas, company officials said in a statement.
To generate power, the plants will use an integrated coal gasification combined cycle technology — a process that aims to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated by burning coal, officials said.
"Cloud Peak Energy is pleased to be part of the Fukushima IGCC project and to help support Japan's investment in next generation coal technology," said Colin Marshall, company president and CEO. "If similar plants were to be built in the U.S. it would go a long way to addressing concerns about CO2 emissions while providing low-cost reliable electricity. Today's announcement also demonstrates the strategic importance of American energy resources to key Asian allies."
The first plant is expected to begin operations in 2020.