The United States’ move away from coal accelerated sharply last week, with four Midwestern utilities announcing the retirement of no fewer than 15 coal-fired power plants with total generating capacity of 2,000 megawatts. Four will be replaced by cleaner gas-fired units.
In the course of the week, Indianapolis Power & Light closed its 67-year-old Eagle Valley plant, pending its replacement next year by a natural gas plant with nearly twice the old one’s capacity, according to industry website Platts. Duke Energy Indiana closed five of six units at its 668-MW Wabash River station, and will decide by year-end whether to convert one of them to gas.
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Next door in Michigan, meanwhile, Consumers Energy let seven coal generating units with 950 MW of total capacity go cold. That company is also considering green-lighting a 700-MW gas plant that it previously deferred. And in the Michigan town of Holland, the Board of Public Works retired a 76 year-old, 62 MW coal-fired municipal power plant, replacing it with a 125-MW gas-fired facility.
Iowa’s MidAmerican Energy, meanwhile, announced last week that it will develop 2,000 MW of new wind capacity by the end of 2019. However, unlike its Michigan and Indiana counterparts, MidAmerican said it had no plans to retire any coal generation.
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