Thermal Power

09 Feb 2023

US to Retire 15GW of Coal and Gas-Fired Power Plants in 2023

09 Feb 2023  by   

Gas power plant. Image by nachai on 123rf

According to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), US operators plan to retire 15.6GW of electric-generating capacity in 2023, mostly natural gas-fired (6.2GW) and coal-fired (8.9GW) power plants.

EIA said that substantial US coal-fired capacity has retired over the past decade, and a record 14.9GW was retired in 2015.

Annual coal retirements averaged 11GW a year from 2015 to 2020, fell to 5.6GW in 2021, and then rose to 11.5GW in 2022.

Data source: EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, December 2022

In 2023, power plant owners and operators plan to retire 8.9GW of coal-fired capacity, around 4.5% of the total coal-fired capacity at the start of the year.

Most coal-fired power plants currently operating were built in the 1970s and 1980s. As these plants compete with a growing number of natural gas-fired plants and low-cost renewables, more coal-fired units are being retired.

EIA said the largest coal-fired power plant expected to retire this year is the 1,490MW W.H. Sammis Power Plant in Ohio. The oldest four of the plant’s seven coal-fired units were retired in 2020; the last three units are slated to shut down this year, along with the plant’s five petroleum-fired units (13MW of combined capacity).

Pleasants Power Station (1,278MW) is the second-largest coal-fired power plant retirement expected this year. Energy Harbor, which plans to become a carbon-free electricity supplier by the end of this year, owns both W.H. Sammis and Pleasants.

In addition, some 6.2GW of natural gas-fired capacity is slated to retire, roughly 1.3% of the operating natural gas fleet as of January. Most of that retiring capacity is made up of older steam and combustion turbine units.

Three aging natural gas-fired plants in California (Alamitos, Huntington Beach, and Redondo Beach), with a combined 2.2GW of capacity, are scheduled to retire. These plants were originally slated to retire in 2020 but were granted a three-year extension to maintain grid reliability.

Petroleum-fired power plants make up a small portion of generating capacity at around 2.2%. Most of these plants are seldom run and serve as peaker plants. This year, around 0.4GW of petroleum-fired capacity is scheduled to retire.


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