Coal plants cancelled in 2009

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. In 2008 an additional 19 proposals were cancelled, abandoned, or put on hold.

Plants cancelled, abandoned, or put on hold in 2009

Since the beginning of 2009, the following proposed coal plants have been canceled, abandoned, or put on hold:

  • On December 9, 2009, Eastman Chemical Co. announced that it was cancelling plans for the TXE Industrial Gasification Facility. The company cited several factors in the cancellation, including increasing construction costs and uncertainty concerning the future of U.S. energy and environmental policy.[2]
  • The sponsors of Big Stone II announced that they would no longer attempt to build the plant. Sponsors cited financing difficulties due to a poor national economy and uncertainty about future federal environmental regulation, making it difficult to finance the plant.[4]
  • E.ON announced it was shelving plans to build a new coal plant at Kingsnorth Power Station. The company cited the economic downturn, but said that the plant could still be built if economic conditions become more favorable within the next two to three years.[6]
  • Santee Cooper's board voted to suspend plans for the Pee Dee Generating Facility. As reasons for the cancellation, CEO Lonnie Carter cited a decrease in electricity demand related to the economic downturn and pending cap-and-trade legislation that could greatly increase the operating costs of coal-fired power plants. August 2009.[8]
  • Intermountain Power Agency officially cancelled plans for the Intermountain Power Project Unit 3 expansion in Utah. The plant was initially cancelled in July 2007, after six California cities that rely on the plant refused to support the expansion; two other cities refused power contracts with the plant earlier that year.[9] The project was brought back to life when the Utah Associated Municipal Power System filed a lawsuit in January 2008 to force the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to move forward with the third unit. Intermountain Power announced the lawsuit settlement and plant cancellation in July 2009.[10]
  • Northern Michigan University announced it was cancelling plans to build the 10MW Northern Michigan Ripley Heating Plant and instead would switch its focus to a biomass burner.[11]
  • Basin Electric Power Cooperative told the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources that it was placing the NextGen Energy Facility on hold "because of the current regulatory, technology, and economic uncertainties." May 2009.[12]
  • Mid-Michigan Energy, a subsidiary of LS Power, announced that it was cancelling the 750-megawatt Midland Power Plant in Michigan. The company cited "regulatory and economic uncertainty." May 2009.[13]
  • Because of the current economic climate and ongoing uncertainty in federal and state regulations, Tri-State Generation and Transmission announced that it will revisit its long-term resource plan, including options for new coal-fired power plants. An unnamed Tri-State coal plant earlier included in the National Energy Technology Laboratory report "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" is now on hold. April 2009.[14] [15]
  • The Louisiana PSC ordered Entergy Louisiana to suspend the Little Gypsy Repowering project, citing lower gas prices, escalating construction costs, and pending regulations of carbon regulations by the Obama administration. The PSC wants to discuss the economic viability of continuing the project at its next meeting in April. March 2009.[16]
  • LS Power notified Nevada state regulators that it was withdrawing its application to build White Pine Energy Station, citing economic conditions and regulatory uncertainties. Instead, LS will focus on completing a planned 500-mile transmission line project to provide new access to renewable energy resources across Nevada. March 2009.[17]
  • Alliant Energy subsidiary Interstate Power and Light Company announced that it was cancelling the proposed Sutherland Generating Station Unit 4. The company said the decision was based on a combination of factors, including the financial climate and concerns about the possibility of future regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. March 2009.[18]
  • AES announced that it had withdrawn its air permit application for a new 650MW unit at its Shady Point facility. Company spokesman Lindy Kiger explained the decision to cancel the project as "part of our broader strategy to re-evaluate our growth plans." February 2009.[19]
  • American Electric Power announced that the Great Bend IGCC project would be put on hold indefinitely due to the weak economy. An AEP executive that the company is "still very interested in the project". February 2009.[20]
  • Nevada Power announced that it was postponing its Ely Energy Center indefinitely because of increasing economic and environmental uncertainties. According to CEO Michael Yackira, the plant could be delayed for up to 10 years, or until carbon capture and storage technologies are available. February 2009.[21]
  • In 2007, Alaska Power and Telephone proposed a coal plant near Jarvis Creek in Alaska but never applied for an air permit for the project. The Sierra Club designated the project cancelled in 2009.[22]
  • In 2006, Arctic Slope Regional Corporation proposed the 50-megawatt Western Arctic Coal Project in Alaska, but it did not apply for an air permit with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The Sierra Club designated the project cancelled in 2009.[23]
  • LS Power announced that because of the economic downturn, it was cancelling plans to build the Elk Run Energy Station in Waterloo, Iowa. A week before the cancellation, Dynegy agreed to dissolve its development venture with LS Power, in part because of the credit crisis. January 2009.[24]
  • Developers of the Highwood Generating Station in Montana voted to halt work on the coal plant, citing regulatory uncertainty and environmental lawsuits. Instead developers will pursue a 120MW plant that will be powered by natural gas with wind turbines for additional power. January 2009.[25]
  • Air Force officials announced that they had rejected construction proposals for the Malmstrom Air Force Base Coal-to-Liquids plant in Montana, and that they would no longer be pursuing development of the large synthetic fuel plant. January 2009.[26]

Coal plant phase-out announcements

  • On December 2, 2009, Exelon announced that it would retire Cromby Generating Station and two units at Eddystone Generating Station in 2011. The closures include 144 MW of coal-fired power at Cromby and another 588 MW at Eddystone. Exelon senior vice president Doyle Beneby said the retirements were due to "decreased power demand, over supply of natural gas and increasing operating costs," adding that, "these aging units are no longer efficient enough to compete with newer resources"[28].
  • On December 1, 2009, Progress Energy Carolinas announced that it would permanently close all of its North Carolina coal plants without sulfur dioxide scrubbers[29]. The 11 units at L.V. Sutton, Cape Fear, Weatherspoon, and Lee total almost 1,500 megawatts and represent about a third of the utility's coal-fired power generation in N.C. The closure plan was filed in response to a request by the N.C. Utilities Commission, which ordered Progress to provide its retirement schedule for "unscrubbed" coal-fired units in North Carolina. The request was a condition of the commission's approval of Progress' plan to close Lee and build a 950-MW natural gas plant at the site. The retirement plan includes the following:
    • Lee is scheduled for retirement in 2013.
    • Sutton is slated for closure in 2014. Progress hopes to replace it with a natural gas-fired power plant.
    • Cape Fear and Weatherspoon will be shut down between 2013 and 2017. The company is considering converting 50 to 150MW of the total capacity to burn wood waste.
  • On September 4, 2009, Ontario Power Generation announced it will shut down four of its 15 coal-fired power plants in late 2010. The closures include two of eight units at Nanticoke Generating Station, and two of four units at Lambton. The four plants represent about 2,000 megawatts of total generation capacity. The closure of the four units, in addition to the 2005 closure of Lakeview Generating Station in 2005, will reduce the Canadian province's coal capacity by 40 percent. OPG said it would continue to assess converting its remaining 11 units to other types of fuel such as biomass, beginning with the conversion of Atikokan Generating Station by 2012.[30][31]
  • On August 20, 2008, Colorado regulators approved Xcel’s plan to shut down two coal plants: the Arapahoe Generating Station (Denver) and the Cameo Station (east of Grand Junction)[32]. The Cameo plant is scheduled to close by December 2010, while units at the Arapahoe will be shut down in 2012. Xcel plans to replace the combined 229 MW of coal power with 850 MW of wind power and a 200 MW utility-scale solar power plant with storage capacity by 2015. Another component of Xcel’s proposal, to build a 480 MW natural gas plant at the Arapahoe station, has been withdrawn.
  • On August 18, 2009, Progress Energy announced a plan to close 3 units at its Lee Steam Plant in North Carolina. The company is seeking regulatory approval to build a new natural gas-fired plant at the site. As proposed, the new plant would increase generation capacity at the site by about 550 megawatts, while still reducing overall emissions, including carbon dioxide. The project will cost an estimated $900 million, and is expected to be operational in 2013[33].
  • On May 29, 2009, U.S. District Judge Larry J. McKinney ordered Duke Energy to shut down three units of the Wabash River Generating Station for violations of the federal Clean Air Act. In 2008, a jury found that Duke-owned Cinergy had modified the facilities without installing best-available pollution control technology. In his ruling, Judge McKinney cited increased sulfur dioxide emissions from the units and gave a deadline of September 30, 2009 for closing them. Duke's Chief Legal Officer Marc Manly said the company was disappointed with the court's decision to "accelerate the shutdown." The units, which supply 39 percent of the station's power, were slated to be taken off line in 2012[34].
  • On March 19, 2009, the Georgia Public Service Commission approved a request from Georgia Power to convert the coal-fired Mitchell plant to burn woody biomass. When the transition is completed, Mitchell will be the first biomass plant in the fleet of Georgia Power's parent Southern Company and "the largest biomass facility in the United States," according to Southern COO Tom Fanning[35].



  1. Chris DeVitto, "Seminole pulls plug on 3rd unit," Palatka Daily News, 12/19/09
  2. "Eastman drops coal gasification project," Plastics News, December 9, 2009.
  3. "American Municipal Power will not build coal-fired power plant", John Funk, The Plain Dealer, November, 25, 2009.
  4. Big Stone II
  5. U.S. Air Force and Coal
  6. Kingsnorth Power Station
  7. La Porte IGCC Plant
  8. Molly Parker, "Santee Cooper board suspends coal plant plans," Charleston Regional Business Journal, August 24, 2009.
  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. Northern Michigan University Ripley Heating Plant
  12. Letter from Lyle Witham to Lynn Gustafson, South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources website, May 18, 2009
  13. Tina Lam, "Plan for coal plant in Midland cancelled,"
  14. “Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants,” National Energy Technology Lab, May 2007, page 13. (Pdf)
  15. "Tri-State to review coal-fired power plant prospects," Power Engineering, April 13, 2009.
  16. Little Gypsy Repowering
  17. White Pine Energy Station
  18. Sutherland Generating Station Unit 4
  19. AES Shady Point II
  20. "AEP: Clean coal plant on hold", Pomeroy Daily Sentinel, February 7, 2009.
  21. Ely Energy Center, Phase I
  22. Alaska Power and Telephone Plant
  23. Western Arctic coal project
  24. LS Power Elk Run Energy Station
  25. Highwood Generating Station
  26. Malmstrom Air Force Base Coal-to-Liquids
  27. "Environmental groups, utility settle plant dispute", December 4, 2009.
  28. "Exelon to retire 933 MW of capacity in 2011," Power Engineering, December 2, 2009.
  29. "Progress Energy Carolinas plans to retire remaining unscrubbed coal plants in N.C.", December 1, 2009.
  30. "Early Closure of Four Coal Units Significant Milestone to Improving Air Quality and Lives," Ontario, September 2009.
  31. "Ontario to cut back coal power 40 per cent," Toronto Star,] September 4, 2009.
  32. "Xcel ditching 2 coal plants, going to solar", Rocky Mountain News, August 20, 2009
  33. "Utility will build natural gas-fueled units to be in service by 2013," Progress Energy, August 18, 2009.
  34. Andrew M. Harris, "Duke Energy Ordered to Shut Indiana Coal-Fired Units," Bloomberg, May 29, 2009.
  35. Joseph Romm, Biomassive plans: Southern Company embraces the only affordable way to 'capture' emissions at a coal plant today, Grist, March 19, 2009.