23 November 2012

Ripe for Retirement: The Case for Closing America's Costliest Coal Plants

As many as 353 coal-fired power generators in 31 states — representing up to 59 GW of power capacity — are no longer economically viable compared with cleaner, more affordable energy sources

A significant number of U.S. coal-fired generators are old, inefficient, dirty, and no longer economically competitive. Simply stated, they are ripe for retirement and should be considered for closure.

America’s coal power fleet is facing an increasingly uncertain economic future. Growing competition from cheaper, cleaner alternatives — including natural gas and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar — is making it harder for these generators to produce energy economically.

With appropriate planning, these outdated coal generators can be closed down while still maintaining a reliable electricity system. By ramping up underutilized natural gas plants, increasing renewable energy through existing state policies, and reducing demand through improved energy efficiency, every region in the country could more than replace the electricity currently produced by ripe-for-retirement generators.

Shutting them down doesn't just make sense financially. Reducing America's reliance on coal would also improve public health, lower global warming emissions, and provide a historic opportunity to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, healthier energy future.

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