Coal plants cancelled in 2007

From Global Energy Monitor

Related resources

Between 2000 and 2006, over 150 coal plant proposals were fielded by utilities in the United States. By the end of 2007, 10 of those proposed plants had been constructed, and an additional 25 plants were under construction. But during 2007 a large number of proposed plants were cancelled, abandoned, or put on hold: 59 according to the list below. Several conclusions can be drawn from this tally.

Climate concerns have begun to play a major role in plant abandonments and cancellations: Concerns about global warming played a major role in 15 cases. These included five proposed Florida plants (Glades, Taylor, Seminole, Polk, and Stanton), seven proposals in Western states that have newly implemented strict carbon regulations on coal (Avista's unnamed unit, Sunflower's Holcomb unit 3; Idaho Power's unnamed unit; Energy Northwest's Pacific Mountain Energy Center; PacifiCorp's Intermountain Power, Bridger IGCC demonstration, and Bridger expansion); and Sunflower's Holcomb units 1 and 2.

Coal plants are being eliminated from long-range plans: Increasingly, coal plants are disappearing before they can even be named, due to increasing regulatory scrutiny of long-range integrated resource plans. In addition to the plants abandoned by PacifiCorp and Idaho Power Company, it is likely that other utilities around the United States have eliminated coal plants from their long-term planning rosters without public announcement.

Renewables are elbowing out coal: Regulators in several states have begun favoring utility-scale renewables over coal. In Delaware, regulators cancelled a coal power plant proposed by NRG Energy in favor of an alternative proposal that combined wind and natural gas. In California, the combination of a strict carbon emissions standard and a renewable portfolio standard has prompted utilities to enter into contracts for large thermal solar projects sponsored by Ausra, BrightSource, and Solel. Solar thermal companies have found success in recruiting top utility executives such as Robert Fishman, who left an executive VP position at CalPine to take the helm at Ausra.

More plants are being abandoned than rejected: Of the 59 projects listed below, only 15 were rejected outright by regulators, courts, or local authorities. In the remaining 44 cases, the decision was made by utilities themselves. Reasons for abandoning plants include (1) rising construction costs, (2) insufficient financing or failure to receive hoped-for government grants, (3) lowered estimates of demand, and (4) concerns about future carbon regulations.

Related resources

Other lists of cancelled plants

In addition to CoalSwarm's own information on cancelled coal plants, several other lists of cancelled or abandoned coal plant proposals are available on the web:

General databases of proposed coal plants

At least 59 Plants Cancelled, Abandoned, or Put on Hold in 2007

The list of cancelled coal plants below includes coal plant proposals that have been rejected by regulators, courts, or local authorities; abandoned by utilities; or placed on hold due to regulatory, financial, or other problems.

1. Indeck Energy Services declines to renew the option for the property the company intended to use for the 660 MW Elmwood Energy Center in Elmwood, Illinois, indicating that it did not intend to pursue the project further. In September 2006, the U.S. EPA’s Environmental Appeals Board had overturned the air permit, finding that it lacked emissions control requirements and environmental impact assessments. December 2007.[1]

2. With no air permit applications on file and no development partner, it appears that Radar Acquisitions Company's Buick Coal and Power Project is now defunct. December 2007[2]

3. Rentech puts coal-to-liquids plant slated for East Dubuque, Illinois on indefinite hold, citing “pressure” put on the project by a lack of national CO2 policy. December 2007.[3]

4. Alcoa scraps plan to build a 950 MW coal plant at the site of a shuttered aluminum smelter in Frederick County, Maryland. December 2007.[4]

5. Idaho Power and PacifiCorp abandon plans for a 600 MW expansion of the Wyoming Jim Bridger Station, a power plant jointly owned by the two companies. A spokesman for PacifiCorp cites the uncertainty around coal, and states the company is looking at natural gas and wind power projects instead. December 2007.[5]

6. A 545 MW IGCC proposal by Steelhead Energy's (also known as Madison Power), the Southern Illinois Clean Energy Center, is declared inactive by the EPA. December 2007.[6]

7. Mountain Island Energy abandons plans for a 600 MW coal plant in Soda Springs, Idaho, which had been announced in January 2007. December 2007[7]

8. PacifiCorp and the state of Wyoming cancel their jointly sponsored IGCC and coal sequestration demonstration project at the Jim Bridger Station, which had been scheduled for operation in 2013. December 2007.[8]

9. PacifiCorp scraps plans for a 950 MW expansion of the Intermountain Power coal plant in Utah. The cancellation comes after six California cities that rely on the plant refused to support the expansion in July 2007; two other cities refused power contracts with the plant earlier in the year. December 2007.[9] The plant was brought back to life when the Utah Associated Municipal Power System filed a lawsuit to force the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to move forward with the third unit. Intermountain Power Agency settled the case in July 2009 and confirmed that it had officially cancelled the project.[10]

10. Following the denial of permits for Sunflower's Holcomb plants, the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities abandons plans to build a 235 MW coal plant at Nearman Creek in Wyandotte County. December 2007.[11]

11. Having announced that it was placing siting plans for a new 600 MW coal plant on hold due to rapidly escalating costs, Westar Energy, Kansas's largest utility, pursues regulatory approval for 295 MW of new wind capacity. December 2007[12]

12. Two months after breaking ground, Orlando Utilities Commission and Southern Company shelve plans for 285 MW Stanton Energy Center, an IGCC plant in Orange County, citing concerns about future carbon controls in Florida. November 2007.[13]

13. Energy Northwest’s application for the 793 MW Pacific Mountain Energy Center in Kalama, Washington, is suspended by state regulators because of insufficient plans for carbon sequestration. November 2007.[14]

14. Voters in Wiscasset, Maine, defeat two ballot measures that would have allowed a variance from local height limits, effectively blocking Point East from pursuing its proposed 700 MW coal plant, Twin River Energy Center. November 2007.[15]

15. Matanuska Electric Association cancels plans to build a 100 MW coal plant in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough of Alaska. Local opposition by elected officials and increased costs are cited as reasons. November 2007.[16]

16. Idaho Power Company cancels plans to produce 250 MW from coal-fired plants by 2013. Instead, the company adopts new plans to add 101 MW of wind power and 45.5 MW of geothermal power by 2011, and to develop a natural gas turbine in Idaho by 2012. November 2007.[17]

17. Sunflower Electric Power Cooperative’s proposal for the 1400 MW Holcomb Units 1 and 2 is denied an air permit by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) due to concerns about global warming. The Director of KDHE states that it would be “irresponsible” to ignore global warming concerns when evaluating whether to build a new plant. October 2007.[18](A month earlier, in September, Sunflower Electric Power Cooperative proposal for the 700 MW Holcomb Unit 3 was cancelled after Colorado adopted a law requiring that rural electric cooperatives get 10 percent of their power from renewable resources. September 2007.[19]

18. NRG’s Huntley Generating Station (680 MW IGCC) "on hold" because it "must find cost reductions to maintain state-awarded financial support." October 2007.[20]

19. Buffalo Energy Partners IGCC plant in Wyoming has been cancelled due to transmision constraints, rising construction costs, limited available technology guarantees and an unsuccessful bid for funding. October 2007.[21]

20. Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy shelves plans for a 600 M IGCC plant in Colorado for at least two years, citing rising construction costs and slowing demand. October 2007.[22]

21. Tampa Electric suspends 630 MW expansion at its Polk Power Station. The decision is influenced by Florida Governor Charlie Crist’s push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. October 2007.[23]

22. Dynegy and LS Power cancel a proposed 500 MW coal plant in West Deptford, New Jersey, proposing instead a natural gas plant. October 2007.[24]

23. Rochester Gas and Electric, a subsidiary of Energy East, changes plans for the proposed 300 MW Russell Station II plant from coal to natural gas. The decision is based partly on public opposition to coal. September 2007.[25]

24. Westmoreland and Montana Dakota Utilities fail to begin construction of the North Dakota Gascoyne 175 MW power plant or request an extension of the air permit. As a result, the air permit is rendered invalid and the company must go through the air permitting process again if it intends to construct the plant. September 2007.[26]

25. Montana regulators revoke the air permit for Bull Mountain Development’s 780 MW Roundup Power Project. September 2007.[27]

26. American Electric Power and Oklahoma Gas & Electric's 950 MW Red Rock Generating Station is rejected by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission for failure to evaluate alternatives such as natural gas. September 2007.[28]

27. Avista Utilities (Washington) completes its 2007 Integrated Resource Plan, eliminating at least one coal plant from its resource strategy. The company cites Washington state law prohibiting new coal plants whose emissions would exceed those of a natural gas plant. September 2007. [29]

28. Southwestern Power Group cancels its proposed 600 MW IGCC Bowie Power Station in Arizona in favor of pursuing a natural gas fired plant. The company cites economics and regulatory uncertainty. September 2007.[30]

29. Franklin Circuit Court reverses the air permit for Peabody Coal Company’s 1500 MW Thoroughbred Generating Station in Kentucky due to inadequate air pollution control analysis. August 2007.[31]

30. Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection rejects the Seminole Electric Power Cooperative’s 750 MW Seminole 3 Generating Station on the grounds that the plant would not minimize environmental and public health impacts, and would not serve the public interest. August 2007.[32]

31. Great Northern Power hasn’t submitted an air permit application for its proposed 500 MW Nelson Creek coal plant in Circle, Montana. A GNP lobbyist testifies in a state legislative session that the company is no longer pursuing the project. August 2007.[33]

32. Great Northern Power withdraws its air permit application for the 500 MW South Heart Power Project in North Dakota. August 2007.[34]

33. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decides that Excelsior Energy’s 600 MW Mesaba IGCC plant "is not in the public interest." August 2007.[35]

34. Florida Municipal Power Agency withdraws its state permit application for the 800 MW Taylor Energy Center shortly after the Florida Public Service Commission rejects the Glades Power Plant. July 2007.[36]

35. The Florida Public Service Commission rejects the permit application of Florida Power & Light’s 1960 MW Glades Power Plant citing, in part, uncertainty over the cost of future carbon regulations. July 2007.[37]

36. Tenaska cancels its 660-880 MW Sallisaw Electric Generating Plant in Oklahoma on the grounds that it is not economically viable. July 2007.[38]

37. The Sierra Club reports that LS Power and Dynegy have quietly abandoned plans for a 1600 MW coal plant in Sussex County, Virginia. The companies no longer list the plant on their websites. July 2007.[39]

38. Tondu Corp abandons plans for the Nueces IGCC plant in Corpus Christi, Texas, citing rising costs and uncertain construction schedules for IGCC. The company plans to build a gas plant instead. June 2007.[40]

39. The Delaware Public Service Commission rejects NRG Energy’s proposal for a 600 MW coal plant at its existing Indian River Power Plant in favor of an alternative wind/gas proposal. May 2007.[41]

40. Wisconsin Public Power Inc. and the city of Escanaba, Michigan, cancel plans to build a 300 MW coal plant in Escanaba. May 2007.[42]

41. Corn Belt Energy Corporation abandons plans to build a 91 MW coal plant in Illinois. The plant would have been financed by a grant from the United States Department of Energy. March 2007.[43]

42-49. As part of a buyout of Texas utility TXU by private equity firms, TXU enters abandons plans for eight out of eleven proposed plants in the state. February 2007.[44]

50. The North Carolina Utilities Commission rejects one of the two 800 MW units at Duke Energy’s Cliffside Steam Station Modernization proposal, citing increased construction costs. Opponents continue to fight the second unit. February 2007.[45].

51. The Oregon Public Utility Commission rules that PacifiCorp had failed to prove a need for Hunter Unit 4, a proposed 575 MW coal plant in Castle Dale, Utah. January 2007.[46]

52. After being on hold for over two years due to siting issues, it appears that the 100 MW Bethel Power Plant proposed by Nuvista Light and Power has now been abandoned.[47]

53. Xcel Energy abandons plans to build a 550 MW coal plant near Rosemount, Minnesota. 2007.[48]

54. Having lost its partner on the project (Foster-Wheeler, which was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange), it appears that Colorado Springs Utilities has abandoned its 150 MW Ray D. Nixon Power Plant proposal.[49]

55. Clean Coal Power Resources has not posted any new information on its company website for several years, and it appears that the company has abandoned Fayette County Economic Development Project, a synthetic fuels project in Illinois.[50]

56. The EPA's coal plant tracking website reports that Dynegy's proposed 1300 MW Baldwin Energy Complex in Baldwin, Illinois, which was listed in the May 2007 Department of Energy "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" survey, has been abandoned.[51]

57. Illinois Energy Group's 1500 MW project in Franklin County, Illinois, which was included in the Department of Energy's May, 2007, "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" survey, has been abandoned.[52]

58. Turris Coal Company appears to have abandoned a 25-35 MW coal plant proposal in Elkhart, Illinois. The plant had been listed in the Department of Energy's May, 2007, "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" survey.[53]

59. The proposed LS Power Sussex project was listed on the National Energy Technology Lab (NETL) “Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants” database, but it is no longer mentioned by LS Power. [54][55]

60. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality rules that Bull Mountain Development can not reuse its original permit for the proposed Roundup Coal-to-Liquids project, but rather must begin a new permitting process.[56] The company is in litigation with disappointed investors, and gasification company DKRW, which previously entered into a preliminary partnership with Bull Mountain Development, now says it has "no official connection to the plant." July 2007. [57]



  1. Elmwood Energy Center
  2. Buick Coal and Power Project
  3. Rentech Energy Midwest Corporation
  4. Alan Brody, "Power Plant Plug Pulled", Southern Maryland News Online, December 14, 2007.
  5. “PacifiCorp Cancels Wyoming Coal Projects,” Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, 12/11/07.
  6. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  7. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  8. “PacifiCorp Cancels Wyoming Coal Projects,” Wyoming Tribune-Eagle, 12/11/07.
  9. Jasen Lee "PacifiCorp to fuel plant with wind, gas -- not coal," Deseret Morning News, December 8, 2007.
  10. Intermountain Power Project Unit 3
  11. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  12. "Westar Energy Receives Order on Rate Treatment for Proposed Investment in Wind Energy"Market Wire, 12/28/07
  13. Stanton Energy Center
  14. Pacific Mountain Energy Center
  15. Twin River Energy Center
  16. Matanuska Power Plant
  17. John Miller, "Idaho Power gives up on coal-fired plant," Idaho Statesman, November 7, 2007.
  18. Steven Mufson, “Power Plant Rejected Over Carbon Dioxide for First Time,” Washington Post, 10/19/07.
  19. Tim Carpenter, "Holcomb plant at center of emissions conflict," Topeka Capital-Journal, September 23, 2007.
  20. Alex Klein,“TECO, Nuon Cancellations Underscore IGCC’s Woes,” Emerging Energy Research, October 5, 2007, Exhibit 2.
  21. Alex Klein,“TECO, Nuon Cancellations Underscore IGCC’s Woes,” Emerging Energy Research, October 5, 2007, Exhibit 2.
  22. Unnamed Xcel Energy Plant
  23. Polk Power Station Unit 6
  24. West Deptford Project
  25. Daniel Wallace, "Russell Station plans change" Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, September 29, 2007.
  26. “MDU shelving Gascoyne power plant,” Bismarck Tribune, 5/29/06
  27. Clair Johnson,"Roundup Power permit invalid", Billings Gazette, July 17, 2007.
  28. "OCC denies application for Red Rock plant", AEP website, September 10, 2007.
  29. “Avista Issues Resource Plan”, Avista press release, September 4, 2007.
  30. Bowie IGCC Power Station
  31. "Court says no to Peabody Coal,"Media Island International, August 9, 2007.
  32. Seminole 3
  33. Nelson Creek Project
  34. “South Heart on Life Support”, Dakota Counsel, August 2007.
  35. "State agency blocks coal plant", Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, August 3, 2007.
  36. Taylor Energy Center
  37. Glades
  38. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  39. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  40. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  41. Indian River
  42. “WPPI Stows Earlier Coal Plant Proposal,” Platts Coal Outlook, 5/14/07
  43. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  44. Andrew Ross Sorkin,"A buyout deal that has many shades of green", New York Times, February 26, 2007.
  45. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  46. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  47. Bethel Power Plant
  48. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  49. "Stopping the Coal Rush"Sierra Club status list, accessed January 2008.
  50. Fayette County Economic Development Project
  51. Baldwin Energy Complex
  52. Illinois Energy Group
  53. Elkhart Proposal (Turris Coal)
  54. LS Power Group website, undated, accessed January 18, 2008.
  55. Appalachian Voices website, undated, accessed January 18, 2008.
  56. "Pipe Dream: Hopes for a coal-powered future darken by the day", Missoula Independent, September 20, 2007.
  57. "Clean Coal Still a Distant Vision", New West Missoula, December 7, 2007.

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