NR1733

NEWS RELEASE                                                                                                    FEBRUARY 2013

Coal-fired Power Plant Retirements will be Significant but Not a Dominant Factor in Future Capital Expenditures 

Hundreds of coal-fired power plants have been or are going to be retired. The peak year will be 2015 when just fewer than 70 units are slated for retirement or switch to natural gas. McIlvaine tracks each retirement initiative along with upgrade expenditures at each plant in the Utility Environmental Upgrade Tracking System.

Retirement 2015     
  

Plant Name

  
  

 EPA unit id

  
  

 State

  
  

 Size MW

  
  

 Plant Startup

  

Ashtabula

7

OH

46

1972

Avon   Lake

12

OH

680

1970

B   C Cobb

4

MI

156

1956

B   C Cobb

5

MI

156

1957

Big   Cajun 2

2B2

LA

559.1

1981

Big   Sandy

BSU2

KY

816

1969

BL   England

2

NJ

163.2

1964

Carbon

1

UT

75

1954

Carbon

2

UT

113.6

1957

Colbert

1

AL

200

1954

Colbert

2

AL

200

1955

Colbert

3

AL

200

1955

Colbert

4

AL

200

1955

E   C Gaston

1

AL

250

1960

E   C Gaston

2

AL

272

1960

E   C Gaston

3

AL

250

1961

E   C Gaston

4

AL

250

1962

Eastlake

1

OH

123

1953

Eastlake

2

OH

123

1953

Eastlake

3

OH

123

1954

Eastlake

4

OH

208

1956

Eastlake

5

OH

680

1972

Harbor   Beach

1

MI

108

1968

Harllee   Branch

3

GA

544

1968

Harllee   Branch

4

GA

544

1969

Huntington   Beach

1

CA

217.6

1958

Johnsonville

1

TN

125

1951

Johnsonville

2

TN

125

1951

Johnsonville

3

TN

125

1952

Johnsonville

4

TN

125

1952

Johnsonville

5

TN

147

1952

Johnsonville

6

TN

147

1953

Lake   Shore

18

OH

256

1962

McManus

1

GA

50

1952

McManus

2

GA

94

1959

Miami   Fort

6

OH

168

1960

New   Castle

2

PA

40.2

1947

New   Castle

3

PA

98

1952

New   Castle

4

PA

114

1958

New   Castle

5

PA

136

1964

North   Branch

1A

WV

74

1992

North   Branch

1B

WV

74

1992

Portland

1

PA

161.5

1958

Portland

2

PA

233

1962

Pulliam

5

WI

50

1949

Pulliam

6

WI

63

1951

Ratts

1SG1

IN

116.5

1968

Ratts

2SG1

IN

166.5

1968

Shawnee

1

KY

175

1953

Shawnee

2

KY

175

1953

Shawnee

3

KY

175

1953

Shawville

1

PA

132.5

1954

Shawville

2

PA

132.5

1954

Shawville

3

PA

187.5

1959

Shawville

4

PA

187.5

1960

Silver   Lake

3

MN

25

1962

Silver   Lake

4

MN

54

1969

Sunbury

1A

PA

75

1949

Sunbury

2A

PA

75

1949

Sunbury

3

PA

103.5

1951

Sunbury

4

PA

156.2

1953

Syl   Laskin

1

MN

58

1953

Syl   Laskin

2

MN

58

1953

Titus

1

PA

75

1951

Titus

2

PA

75

1951

Titus

3

PA

75

1953

W   C Beckjord

3

OH

125

1954

W   C Beckjord

4

OH

163

1958

W   C Beckjord

5

OH

240

1962

W   C Beckjord

6

OH

434

1969

Weston

1

WI

60

1956

Weston

2

WI

81.6

1960

Widows   Creek

6

AL

141

1954

Yates

Y1BR

GA

100

1950

Yates

Y2BR

GA

100

1950

Yates

Y3BR

GA

100

1953

Yates

Y4BR

GA

125

1957

Yates

Y5BR

GA

125

1958

Yorktown

3

VA

882

1974

 

The power plants planning to retire in 2015 are mostly more than 50 years old. Some will be 65 years old by the 2015 retirement date. Most are small with some as small as 25 MW. The average is less than 200 MW. The total capacity being retired in 2015 (the peak year) is less than five percent of the total coal-fired capacity in the U.S.

While all the power plants listed have announced plans to retire or switch to gas, there are still some potential routes whereby these plants could again burn coal. NRG Energy has committed to burning natural gas at one of the Big Cajun plants. But the best hedge may be to just use natural gas in the existing coal-fired boiler rather than build the gas turbine to replace it. It is an inefficient way to use natural gas, but if the gas use will only be for a few years, then it can be an attractive alternative.

Another option is to build the gas turbine but mothball the existing plant in case it is needed in the future. After the experience a decade ago where natural gas prices rose quickly to levels which made electricity generation from gas highly unprofitable, most utilities want to retain a balanced mix of fuel sources.

For more information on: Utility Environmental Upgrade Tracking System, click on:  http://home.mcilvainecompany.com/index.php/component/content/article?id=72