Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Groups Report 59 Proposed Coal Plants Cancelled In 2007

Jan 17: Research compiled by Coal Moratorium NOW! (CMN) and Rainforest Action Network (RAN) indicates that fifty-nine proposed coal-fired power plants were cancelled or shelved during 2007. Both groups are calling for a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired power plants. The list, "Coal Plants Cancelled in 2007," including documentation, is posted online (See links below). It includes data supplied by Sierra Club, coalSwarm, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Lab, and utility industry sources.

Becky Tarbotton, director of Rainforest Action Network's Global Finance Campaign said, "Coal-fired power plants are the wrong investment for our climate, our health, and our economy. Utilities, regulators, and investors are realizing that the path ahead is energy efficiency and renewable energy. It's time to stop financing and building coal and to start funding the future." Ted Nace, founder of CWN said, "Although we knew that many plants were being nixed, we were stunned by the total number. It spells real hope for the movement seeking to blunt the coal rush."

Because coal is the largest contributor to the human-made increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, coal plants are at the top of the list of global warming threats cited by climate scientists. Dr. James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Space Center, the world's largest climate research agency, told Congress on April 26, 2007, that a moratorium on new coal plants is "the most critical action for saving the planet at this time."

Among the study's conclusions: Climate concerns played a role in at least 15 plant cancellations; Coal plants disappeared entirely from some utilities' long-range plans; Renewables began elbowing out coal; Grassroots opposition mounted, financial markets cooled to coal; More plants were abandoned than rejected; and Heavy spending but poor results for "clean coal."

According to the groups' release, after mainly building natural gas turbines during the 1980s and 1990s, utilities returned to coal when natural gas prices jumped in 2000. In May 2007, the Department of Energy's "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" (5/07) study counted 151 proposed coal plants. Five months later, "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" (10/07) counted 121 proposed plants. According to a survey completed in the first week of January 2008 by Coal Moratorium NOW! and Rainforest Action Network, the number of proposed plants (including those under construction or recently completed) now stands at 113.

Sierra Club also maintains up to date status information about proposed coal plants across the country. The detailed table with links to additional information includes: Status; State; Name; Size(MW); Technology/Plant Type; Fuel Type; Finance Info; and Estimated Annual CO2 Output (in metric tons).

Access a release with links to extensive background data (
click here). Access the list of cancellations (click here). Access a Jan. 15, 2008, state-by-state list of new plant proposals with plant information and contacts (click here). Access the SourceWatch Coal Issues Portal (click here). Access the Sierra Club data (click here). [*Energy,*Climate]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Research conducted by Americans for Balanced Energy Choices (ABEC) contradicts recent claims by critics that coal-fueled power plant construction has died. In addition, the research identified substantial benefits, including economical and environmental returns, resulting from the construction of several new coal-fueled power plants nationwide.

Currently, there are more than 120 coal-fueled power plants currently under or near construction, permitted or in the early stages of development. The US EIA projects the need for an average of 6,000 megawatts (MW) per year through 2030.

The breakdown of new plants according to status and capacity is:
• Currently under construction: 24 (capacity 12,506 MW)
• Near construction: 8 (capacity 4,565 MW)
• Permitted: 13 (capacity 23,240 MW)
• Announced: 76 (48, 440 MW)

“According to the US Energy Information Association (EIA), electricity demand nationwide will nearly double in the next 20 years. With a 250-year supply of coal, the United States is in a position to leverage its most abundant domestic resource to provide secure, affordable energy,” said Joe Lucas, ABEC executive director.

Lucas clearly admits that there have been some high profile coal projects that have either been delayed or cancelled. “But the research shows there are many more projects that have been approved and under construction than have been cancelled,” said Lucas.

Lucas acknowledged that a lot can happen between when a project is announced and a permit is issued and a project begins construction. “But, in order to get a full appreciation of coal’s near-term future, you have to focus as much on what is being built rather just looking at instances where coal projects are in trouble,” said Lucas.

“Construction of these new coal-fueled plants will not only make it possible to meet this growing electricity demand, but help further the development and deployment of technology that increases plant efficiencies and reduces emissions. During the past 35 years, the use of coal in the U.S. has nearly tripled, at the same time, air quality improved and emissions from coal-based electricity are 33 percent lower despite this increased use,” Lucas said.

Lucas also said the research is more than just a running total of what is being built versus projects that have died. It also identifies technology deployment and economic impact.

Every plant listed as under or near construction or permitted has proposed deploying technology including subcritical and supercritical pulverized coal (PC) technology, clean coal fluidized bed technology (CFB) or integrated gasification and combined cycle (IGCC) technology.

Research indicates that coal, in addition to providing affordable electricity, plays an important role in other areas of a state’s economy. According to research, US coal-fueled electricity contributes $1.05 trillion in gross economic output, $362 billion in annual household incomes and 6.8 million jobs in 2015. As a result, halted or deferred plant development may result in insufficient electricity capacity growth, which would affect a state’s economic output, household income and job growth.

“Not only does coal provide a constant, reliable flow of base load power, but its transmission capabilities can help further diversify a state’s energy portfolio. Many wind-generating power sites lack transmission lines needed to send the power to its customers. The construction of new coal-fueled plants can help further advance wind power by providing much needed transmission capabilities wind power generating sites currently lack,” Lucas said.

The following is a list of coal-fueled plants currently under construction, its location and initial opening year:
• Black Hills Wygen plant, Gillette, WY, 2008
• Arkansas River Power Lamar plant, Lamar, CO, 2008
• WPS Resources Weston plant, Rothschild, WI, 2008
• Newmont Mining TS Power plant, Dunphy, NV, 2008
• Santee Cooper Cross plant, Cross, SC, 2009
• East Kentucky Power Spurlock plant, Maysville, KY, 2009
• Omaha Public Power Nebraska City plant, Nebraska City, NE, 2009
• Wisconsin Energy Elm Road plant, Milwaukee, WI, 2009
• TXU Sandow Repower plant, Milam County, TX, 2009
• San Antonio Spruce plant, San Antonio, TX, 2009
• TXU Oak Grove plant, Franklin, TX, 2009
• Salt River Power Springerville plant, Springerville, AZ, 2009
• Springfield, IL Dallman plant, Lake Springfield, IL, 2010
• Springfield, MO Southwest plant, Springfield, MO, 2010
• LG&E Energy Trimble County plant, Trimble County, KY, 2010
• Kansas City P&L Iatan plant, Weston, MO, 2010
• LS Power Plum Point plant, Osceola, AR, 2010
• GenPower/First Reserve Longview plant, Monongalia County, WV, 2011