Saturday, April 2, 2016

Coal Power Plant Shutdowns Ahead of Pace in 2015

Subtitle: Gas and Renewables Replace the Coal Power

There are multiple reasons behind the shutdowns of almost 14,000 MW of coal-fired power plants in 2015 in the US, with air pollution regulations among those reasons.   The MATS, Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, are listed as one reason.   The US Energy Information Agency, EIA, recently published a summary of power plant shutdowns in 2015 (see link) that shows the coal-fired plants shutdown made up 80 percent of all the power shutdown
US Power Plants Retired in 2015 - source: EIA
(measured in MW).  Second place at approximately 3,000 MW was natural gas plants.  

This is entirely consistent with what I wrote in December, 2015, see link, "No new coal-fired plants to be built in the next 20 years, and aging existing plants are retired on-schedule or a bit earlier."   The coal plant shut-downs were older and smaller than average, per EIA.   The combined capacity deleted is also higher than usual on an annual basis. 

Meanwhile, EIA reports the US added approximately 19,000 MW of new power plant capacity, with the majority from wind (8,000 MW),  natural gas (6,000 MW). then solar (5,000 MW).   Zero coal-fired power plants are reported.  see link

This article will be a regular annual contribution to SLB, as the slow march continues to eliminating coal-fired power plants in the US.  There is a severe shortage of coal looming in the next 20 years, however, that time frame could and likely will be extended a bit as coal-consuming plants are retired and few, if any, new plants are started up.  

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

copyrignt © 2016 by Roger Sowell, all rights reserved

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