Coal plants cancelled in 2008

From Global Energy Monitor

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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. During 2007 at least 59 coal plants were cancelled, abandoned, or put on hold.

Proposed plants cancelled, abandoned, or put on hold in 2008

In 2008, the following 26 proposed coal plants were cancelled, abandoned, or put on hold, including 25 projects the United States and 1 project in the Netherlands:

1. According to the Sierra Club discussions with Global Energy officials have revealed that the Lima Energy plant in Ohio has been abandoned. December, 2008[1]

2 Peabody Energy withdraws its permit application to build two 750 MW pulverized coal-burning plants at its Thoroughbred campus in Kentucky. December 2008.[2]

3. Leucadia National Corporation, the main sponsor of the Indiana SNG project, requests the Utility Regulatory Commission to put its permitting decisions on hold due to difficulties securing commitments from potential buyers of the synthetic natural gas. If built, the project would convert 3 million tons of coal to substitute natural gas. November 2008[3]

4. Wisconsin state regulators vote unanimously to reject the Nelson Dewey Generating Facility expansion, citing concerns about global warming as well as the plant's $1.3 billion price tag, which had ballooned almost 60 percent from 2007 due to rising construction costs. The PSC noted that the likelihood of future regulations on carbon emissions will make it difficult for any new coal plant to be built in Wisconsin. November 2008.[4]

5. The Kentucky State Office of Adminstrative Hearings rejects Kentucky Mountain Power, a coal plant proposed in Calvert City (Knott County), Kentucky by EnviroPower. The project was granted an air permit from the state of Kentucky to build a 500-megawatt circulating fluidized bed coal plant, but it has been on hold since 2003. November 2008.[5]

6. The plan by Buffalo Managers and Montgomery Energy Partners to build the Buffalo Energy Project, a 1100 MW IGCC plant in Glenrock, Wyoming, appears to have been abandoned. October 2008.[6]

7. Enviropower had proposed a 525 MW conventional coal plant in Somerset, Pennsylvania.The project now appears to have been abandoned. October 2008.[7]

8. CONSOL Energy and Synthesis Energy Systems cancel the Benwood Project, a large synthetic fuels plant in Benwood, West Virginia. The plant would have produced 720,000 metric tons of methanol and 100 million gallons of 87-octane gasoline per year using coal from CONSOL's Shoemaker Mine, with additional coal brought in from the McElroy and Loveridge mines, which also are owned by CONSOL. Synthesis cites hard economic times, unwillingness to commit equity capital, and a drop in oil prices. CONSOL expresses interested in continuing to pursue coal-to-liquids in the Northern Panhandle region of West Virginia, but says it will need a partner. October 2008.[8]

9. Western Greenbrier Co-Production issues an official news release stating that it had cancelled the Western Greenbrier Co-Production Demonstration Project, a 98MW circulating fluidized bed coal plant in West Virginia. The United States DOE had previously notified company officials that it was pulling all funding for the project. September 2008.[9]

10. Coal magnate John Rich admits that because of ballooning costs and lack of government support, he has given up on setting a timeline for the construction of the Gilberton Coal-to-Clean-Fuels and Power Project, the nation's first coal-to-oil plant, in Gilberton, Pennsylvania. August 2008.[10]

11. Sithe Global Power halts plans to build a waste-coal plant in Shade Township, Pennsylvania due to lack of progress in finding a financing partner for the project. (The company says it will continue to seek permits.) August 2008[11]

12. Westward Energy fails to submit a siting application to the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Board, causing observers to conclude that the Lower Columbia Clean Energy Center, a 520 megawatt IGCC plant, had been abandoned. August 2008.[12]

13. Albuquerque, New Mexico-based PNM says it will not pursue its 600 megawatt Twin Oaks Power Unit 3 expansion in Robertson County, Texas. In 2007 PNM signed a non-binding letter of intent to contribute the existing Twin Oaks station to EnergyCo, an unregulated energy joint venture with Bill Gates' Cascade Investments unit. August 2008.[13]

14. Minnkota Power Cooperative announces that it will delay building the Milton Young 3 station until 2026. In the meantime, the company has agreed to an arrangement with FPL Energy under which Minnkota will receive 99 MW of peak output from FPL's wind farm in Cavalier County, ND. June 2008.[14][15]

15. Westmoreland Power announces that it is suspending development of the Gascoyne 500 Project the plant in North Dakota and returning $562,500 in state state subsidies for the project. The company cites lack of a customer for the power and uncertainty over carbon regulation. Company spokesman Keith Alessi writes to the N.D. Industrial Commission: "There is much uncertainty in the utility sector on when future carbon regulation will come into effect. This has slowed the development of coal-fired power plants. ... At this time (we) cannot predict when a long-term customer (for the plant's electricity) can be found and the actual plant construction could commence." May 2008.[16]

16. Essent cancels its proposed Geertruidenberg Power Station in the Netherlands, stating that it had received limited emission rights for carbon dioxide. May 2008.[17]

17. Southern Illinois University President Glenn Poshard placed the proposed 200 MW Southern Illinois University at Carbondale IGCC plant on hold, citing financial issues. April 2008[18]

18. West Virginia's State Corporation Commission (SCC) rejects Appalachian Power Company's Mountaineer IGCC plant, a proposed 629 MW facility in Mason County. According to the SCC, Appalachian Power's estimate of $2.33 billion, which had not been revised since November 2006, was "not credible." April 2008[19]

19. Agrium Corp. says a combination of rising construction costs and a worsening U.S. economy has convinced the company not to proceed with the Kenai Blue Sky Project, a coal gasification facility and adjacent electrical generating plant that the company had planned to build at its fertilizer plant on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. March 2008.[20]

20. Associated Electric Cooperative announces that it is cancelling its 660 MW Norborne Baseload Plant. The company cites three reasons: (1) an increase in costs to $ 2 billion due to “worldwide demand for engineering, skilled labor, equipment and materials"; (2) the Rural Utilities Service’s cancellation of financing for coal projects; and (3) the increased regulatory and cost uncertainties surrounding carbon dioxide. The coop plans to pursue a combination of efficiency measures, wind power, and nuclear power. March 2008.[21]

21. In an NRG conference call, Robert Flexon - NRG's CFO - states that the company has abandoned the Big Cajun II Unit 4 project in Louisiana, due to the fact that the company had only been able to contract out 450 of the plant's 705 MW. February 2008.[22]

22. AES withdraws its application with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to build the AES Colorado Power Project, a 640 MW coal-fired power plant in Washington County, west of Akron, Colorado. January 2008.[23]

23. Dynegy / LS Power withdraws its application with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for a permit to build the High Plains Energy Station, a 600 MW coal-fired power plant in Morgan County, Colorado. January 2008.[24]

24. The U.S. Department of Energy cancels plans to build the experimental FutureGen plant in Mattoon, Illinois, which would attempt to capture and FutureGen is a proposed coal plant in Mattoon, Illinois. January 2008.[25] In June 2009, Energy secretary Steven Chu announces a provisional agreement with the FutureGen Alliance to revive the project, saying that FutureGen is an important step for the Obama Administration's commitment to carbon capture technology.[25]

25. Marion Gasification Plant was to be built near Marion in Williamson County, Illinois.[26] In 2004, the Illinois Clean Coal Review Board agreed to give $2.5 million to the project, while the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity was expected give an additional $2.5 million, according to Phil Gonet, president of the Illinois Coal Association and a member of the review board.[27] The sponsor of the project, Madison Power Corporation, has disbanded.[28]

26. Officials at the University of Missouri Columbia proposed adding a new CFB 40-MW coal-fired unit to its existing University of Missouri-Columbia Power Plant. In March 2008, a consultant to the Board of Curators was expected to present a proposal on the new plant to the Board. However, as of August 2008 no permit application had been received by the Department of Natural Resources, and none was expected.[29]

Existing coal plants phased out

  • Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle announces that two aging coal plants, the Charter Street Heating Plant and the Capitol Heat and Power Plant, both located in Dane County, will be shut down and replaced with cleaner systems. The decision followed legal action and grassroots protests and lobbying by members of the Sierra Club, students at the University of Wisconsin, and other activists. August 2008[30]



  1. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed April 2009.
  2. Thoroughbred Generating Station
  3. Indiana SNG
  4. PSC rejects Alliant Energy's proposed coal plant," Journal Sentinel, November 11, 2008.
  5. Kentucky Mountain Power
  6. Buffalo Energy Project
  7. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed January 2008. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  8. Benwood Project
  9. Western Greenbrier Co-Production Demonstration Project
  10. Gilberton Coal-to-Clean-Fuels and Power Project
  11. Sithe Shade Township Project
  12. Lower Columbia Clean Energy Center
  13. "PNM Resources drops Texas coal-plant expansion," Reuters, August 12, 2008.
  14. Minnkota, FPL announce wind farm plans, Minnkota press release, 3/29/07
  15. Lauren Donovan, "Economic pinwheels spinning in Oliver," Bismarck Tribune, June 25, 2008
  16. "Coal company suspends effort to build N.D. power plant," Bismarck Tribune, 5/21/08
  17. Geertruidenberg Power Station
  18. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed March 2010. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  19. Mountaineer
  20. Kenai Blue Sky Project
  21. Norborne Baseload Plant
  22. NRG Energy, Inc. Q4 2007 Earnings Call Transcript, Seeking Alpha website, Feb. 28, 2008.
  23. AES Colorado Power Project
  24. High Plains Energy Station
  25. 25.0 25.1 FutureGen
  26. “Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants,” National Energy Tech Lab, May 1, 2007, page 12. (Pdf)
  27. Becky Malkovich, "$2 Billion Coal Plant Proposed for Region," The Southern, 10/22/04
  28. Madison Power, company website, updated June 3, 2008
  29. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed November 2011. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)
  30. "Stopping the Coal Rush", Sierra Club, accessed December 2007. (This is a Sierra Club list of new coal plant proposals.)