Alternatives continue to bury Texas coal-powered plants
AUSTIN, Texas — Although EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said this week that with the planned roll back of the 2015 Clean Power Plan, “the war on coal is over,” casualties continue.
And word that yet another coal-burning Texas power plant will soon retire from service is a reminder that losses will keep mounting.
“It doesn’t mean that the Texas coal plants are going to be saved,” said Chrissy Mann, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, responding to Pruitt’s remarks. “Coal is not going to be around forever. It’s not even going to be around long.”
Monticello will be the nation’s 259th coal plant to retire or announce retirement since 2010, “meaning the U.S. is just three plants away from retiring or announcing to retire, half of the coal plants that were operating just seven years ago,” according to a Sierra Club statement.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s staff reported in August that, “Coal energy production peaked in 2007 and has been declining since.
“No new coal plants have been built for domestic utility electricity production since 2014 because new coal plants are more expensive to build and operate than natural gas-fired plants.”
In a Utility Dive blog post, energy consultant Alison Silverstein said that “most of the plants that have retired were old, smaller, inefficient, and high-cost,” lacking “the flexibility and cost profiles to compete in a fast-moving grid.
“Renewable generation was an exacerbating factor, but in most cases not a causal factor behind power plant retirements ... In many cases, the plants that retired were already less economically competitive and were being dispatched ... before ... they would have to make new regulatory compliance investments.”
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