Retirements to cut US coal plants by half of 2015 levels within 15 years

03 08 2021 | 09:52

Based on already planned and announced retirements, less than half of the U.S. coal-fired power generation capacity that existed at the start of 2015 will remain online by 2035, a new S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis shows.

Utilities are rapidly closing coal-fired power plants, and while 2020 and 2021 offer a relative reprieve from retirements compared to 2018 and 2019, utilities already have over 10 GW of announced retirement plans lined up in each of 2022 and 2023. Moreover, later years, such as 2028, are also already slated to host a relatively big wave of coal plant retirements.

Recent months have seen a fresh round of new and accelerated retirement announcements driven by utilities adopting new climate policies and goals, said Seth Feaster, a data analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.

“We are absolutely certain that there’s going to be a considerable number of more retirements for this decade,” Feaster said. “We just haven’t gotten there yet.”

At the start of 2015, the nation’s coal fleet totaled 285.6 GW of capacity, according to Market Intelligence data. By the start of 2020, that fell to 228.8 GW, a decline of 19.9%. Closures already announced by power generators will drop that figure to 136.5 GW by 2035, or about 47.8% of the size of the fleet at the beginning of 2015.



2 August 2021