Coal’s curtain call
It’s Tuesday, January 12, and coal-fired power plants across the country are announcing plans to retire.
As cities and states across the country push forward on carbon neutrality goals and renewable energy options become increasingly affordable, more coal-fired power plants are permanently shutting their doors.
Xcel Energy, the owner of one such plant in Routt County, Colorado, announced last week that it would retire one of the two operating units at its Hayden Generating Station facility by 2028, two years earlier than originally planned. The other unit’s closure date was moved up from 2036 to 2027. Company officials said the closures would be accomplished without layoffs by retraining the plant’s remaining staff.
“The early closure of the coal plant is part of the company’s plan to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030 and ultimately deliver 100 percent carbon-free electricity to customers by 2050,” Xcel said in a statement.
On the other side of the country, GenOn Holdings Inc, an energy company in Maryland, announced the retirement of the coal-fired units at its Morgantown Generating Station in Charles County on the Potomac River. Officials at the 50-year-old plant, previously the largest coal-fired power plant in the state without plans to close, now say it will stop burning coal in 2027, though it will continue generating electricity by burning oil and gas.
Maryland started 2020 with six active coal plants; now, five of the six plants have either been retired or announced plans to do so.
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