The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.
Untitled Document

Report: 59 GW of Coal-Fired Generation Capacity Should Retire; Could Open Door for Renewable Energy

Today, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) released the findings of an economic analysis indicating as much as 18 percent of the country's coal-fired energy generating capacity should be considered for closure. The study found as many as 353 generators in 31 states, totaling 59 gigawatts (GW) of electricity generation capacity, likely will be more expensive to operate after installing modern pollution control equipment than switching to cleaner energy alternatives such as natural gas, renewable energy, or using greater energy efficiency measures. These potential closures are in addition to 41 GW of already announced coal retirements.

The comprehensive report ranks the ten states with the most coal-fired generating capacity that should be considered for closure:  Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Indiana, Mississippi and Virginia. (see chart, below.)

The report also shows that Southern Company, one of the nation’s largest private utilities, owns the most coal-fired generating capacity ready for retirement, followed by government-owned Tennessee Valley Authority, Duke Energy, American Electric Power and FirstEnergy.

To determine the economic competitiveness of a coal plant, the UCS compared that cost of coal-fired generation after a plant installed modern pollution controls with the cost of generation from a new natural gas-fired plant. If the cost was greater for the coal plant, it was considered ripe for retirement.  Many of the ripe-for-retirement generators identi­fied in the report are more expensive to operate than wind power generation with or without the extension of the production tax credit (PTC).  The UCS also factored in a modest price on carbon emissions for its analysis.

See the chart and description below for more information.

 

UCS analysis revealing that low natural gas prices and a price on CO2 have the greatest impact in expanding the pool of coal-fired generators deemed ripe for retirement, and that extending the federal tax credits for wind power is also significant. Alternative scenarios explore three external economic factors that could influence the coal-fired generating capacity deemed ripe for retirement. In the core analysis (far left), the low estimate (dark blue alone) compares the operating cost of coal generators with the operating cost of a new NGCC plant; the high estimate (combined dark blue and light blue) compares the operating cost of coal generators with the operating cost of existing NGCC plants. The middle three bars repeat the analysis for hypothetical scenarios where natural gas prices might be 25 percent higher or 25 percent lower, or where a $15/ton price might be put on carbon dioxide emissions. For the wind power scenario (far right), the analysis illustrates the capacity of coal-fired generators deemed ripe for retirement if federal tax credits for wind power are allowed to expire (dark green) or are extended (combined dark green and light green).

“Our analysis shows that switching to cleaner energy sources and investing in energy efficiency often makes more economic sense than spending billions to extend the life of obsolete coal plants,” said Steve Frenkel, report co-author and director of UCS’s Midwest office. “Regulators should require utility companies to carefully consider whether ratepayers would be better off by retiring old coal plants and boosting electricity generation from natural gas and renewable energy sources like wind. Spending billions to upgrade old coal plants may simply be throwing good money after bad.”

According to the UCS, the possible retirement of these uncompetitive generators presents a historic opportunity to accelerate a transition to a clean energy economy that will protect public health, cut carbon dioxide emissions and diversify the power mix. 

The full report is available for download at this link.

Untitled Document

RELATED ARTICLES

Don’t Like Obama’s Clean Power Plan? Fine, Here’s Cap and Trade

Mark Drajem and Lynn Doan, Bloomberg Republican governors who boycott the Obama administration’s new power-plant regulations may instead get an offer they...

Renewable Energy Gains Greater Opportunity in US Clean Power Plan

Elisa Wood After a year of being pummeled by opponents, Obama’s final carbon reduction plan emerged this week with an even stron...

US Clean Power Plan Could Include Carbon Trading

Mark Drajem, Bloomberg Some businesses that back President Barack Obama’s plan to curb greenhouse gases are making a late lobbying push to a...

Listen Up: Vampires Sucking Power from your House

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World Here’s a nightmare for you: at night, when you’re asleep and you think things are quiet, there are vampires sucking p...

PRESS RELEASES

Array Technologies’ DuraTrack HZ v3 Continues to (R)evolutionize at SPI

Array Technologies, Inc. (ATI) prepares to showcase its recently launched tracking syst...

Appalachian's Energy Center assists counties with landfill gas to energy projects

The Appalachian Energy Center at Appalachian State University recently completed a proj...

Early Bird Registration Deadline for GRC Annual Meeting is This Week

The deadline for early-bird rates for registration for the biggest annual geothermal ev...

Redesigned HydroWorld.com Video Gallery

Hydropower news and information, and interesting promotional announcements are now avai...

FEATURED BLOGS

Transitioning to Net-Zero Living

Judith and Jeffrey adore living in Belfast, Maine – a quaint harbor town of Belfast, Maine. They previously res...

The True Cost of Electric Vehicles in Australia

In order to avoid increased congestion, further greenhouse warming and lessen Australia’s reliance on imported ...

The Coming Multi-trillion Dollar Energy Investment Drive

In coming years, a multi-trillion dollar low-emission energy investment drive will get underway. Three catalysts wil...

The Perfect Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is a concise statement that grabs attention and communicates value, ideally leading to a next step...

FINANCIAL NEWS

Renewable Energy World's network editors help deliver the most comprehensive news coverage of the renewable energy industries. Based in the U.S. and the UK, the team is comprised of editors from Pennwell Corporation's myriad of publications that ...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 4
1507REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in South Africa – in partnership with GWEC, the Glob...

Wind Energy in South Africa has been expanding dramatically, growing fro...

Intersolar North America 2016

Exhibition: July 12 - 14, 2016; Conference: July 11 - 13, 2016 Intersola...

Intersolar South America 2015

Exhibition and Conference: September 1-3, 2015 Intersolar South America ...

COMPANY BLOGS

Less Is More

When you’re giving a presentation, one of the easiest things to do...

Captivology

One of the biggest challenges we face as efficiency sales professionals ...

How To Optimize Your Meeting Schedule

Do you spend more time in meetings than you do actually working? While m...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS