U.S. Coal Plant Closings Hit a Milestone
The decision by an Ohio utility to shutter two coal-fired generators at a 3,000-megawatt power station brings to 251 the number of coal plants that have been closed or scheduled for closure since 2010, the Sierra Club asserts.
According to Utility Dive, Dayton Power & Light said that it will close its J.M. Stuart and Killen coal-fired plants by June, 2018. “DP&L said that after reviewing market conditions, the utility determined the plants would not be profitable after the middle of next year.”
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The San Francisco-based Sierra Club took a victory lap for the growing number of coal plant retirements “since [Sierra’s] Beyond Coal Campaign began in 2010, driving coal use down to its lowest level in history.”
“This milestone is a testament to the commitment Americans have to cleaner air and water—and the power of grassroots action to create healthier communities,” said Bruce Nilles, Senior Director of the Beyond Coal campaign. “These values and years of hard work in local communities have transformed the way we power our homes, businesses, and places of worship. Today’s announcement further underscores that the market has declared dirty coal uneconomic.”
In fact, most analyses agree with Utility Dive’s assessment that “cheap gas and tighter environmental restrictions” have been behind coal’s decline. Recently, a cost study declared so-called “clean coal” generation the most expensive of several choices available in Australia, and Germany’s Deutsche Bank declared it would no longer finance new coal mines or coal-fired generation facilities.
Sierra says coal plant closures to date have saved the United States US$3.2 billion in health costs and nearly 6,900 lives, preventing 10,700 heart and 113,500 asthma attacks.