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]