16GW Of U.S Coal Power Retirements By Late 2021

Proposed U.S. coal power retirements

Image: byrev

The latest U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Energy Infrastructure Update doesn’t offer much joy to coal power supporters.

Released on Tuesday and covering August, the update indicates 16,317MW of coal-fired electricity generation capacity is proposed for retirement by September 2021. Just 17MW of new capacity is expected to be brought online – around one-tenth of one percent of the retirement figure.

For natural gas, it’s a different story. 12,021MW of capacity may be retired by that date,  but there could be 79,715MW of new capacity in place.

Utility-scale solar power also looks set for significant growth, with 57,614MW of new capacity (1,827 plants) proposed at this stage and just 2MW of retirements. Likewise, wind power should also see a huge increase – 89,240MW of new builds and just one facility being retired (50MW).

The FERC update noted a number of solar plants were brought online in August, including: Delta Solar Power II LLC’s 15.9 MW Delta Solar Power Project in Eaton County, Michigan, NJR Clean Energy Ventures Corp’s 10.0 MW Old Bridge Solar Farm in Middlesex, New Jersey and Delta Solar Power I LLC’s 8.1 MW Delta Solar Power Project in Eaton County, Michigan.

In total, 60MW of utility scale solar power went live in August, and 148MW of wind. Both were well and truly eclipsed by natural gas (1,301MW).

Earlier this month, the Union of Concerned Scientists USA said that despite President Donald Trump’s best efforts to that point, the renewables juggernaut was rumbling on.

“.. his schemes continue to flop thanks in large part to the ongoing actions of states, utilities, and corporations that are forging ahead with commitments to accelerate the adoption of wind, solar, and other clean energy technologies,” said Jeff Deyette, the UCS’s Director of state policy & analysis, Clean Energy.

A Fox To Help Watch Over The FERC Henhouse?

However, changes may be afoot at FERC that could have some impact on the future of coal power in the country. Just a few days after the UCS post, President Trump announced he would nominate Bernard McNamee to be a Member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Mr. McNamee apparently played an important role in Rick Perry’s plan to bail out the nation’s ailing coal and nuclear markets; a plan that was hatched at the direction of President Trump – and one that ultimately failed.

The curiously-named American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity was certainly happy with the news of the nomination while some groups, including the UCS, not so.

Whether a similar Perry-type plan would be successful if re-jiggered and re-presented with Mr. McNamee on board at FERC is a concern expressed by some – that and the fact that FERC is meant to be an independent body.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. Bret Busby in Western Australia says:

    Paragraph 2 –


    Released on Tuesday and covering August, the update indicates 16,317MW of coal-fired electricity generation capacity is proposed for retirement by September 2021.

    You might want to check the units of measurement.

  2. Bret Busby in Western Australia says:


    Released on Tuesday and covering August, the update indicates 16,317MW of coal-fired electricity generation capacity is proposed for retirement by September 2021. Just 17MW of new capacity is expected to be brought online – around one-tenth of one percent of the retirement figure.

    From my simple arithmetic, 17MW is alot more than 16.317MW, especially – with great emphasis- alot more than “around one-tenth of one percent of” 16.317MW.

  3. You might want to check units of punctuation.

  4. Richard Kirby says:

    Haha, gold.

Speak Your Mind

*

GET THE SOLARQUOTES WEEKLY NEWSLETTER