Retirements of U.S. coal-fired power plants continue but slow slightly |

Retirements of U.S. coal-fired power plants continue but slow slightly

Stephen Huba
Tribune-Review File
The Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport, Beaver County, is slated for closure by FirstEnergy Solutions in June 2021.

Energy companies plan to retire another 17 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity in the United States by 2025, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Among the planned retirements is the Bruce Mansfield Plant in Shippingport, Beaver County, in June 2021. FirstEnergy Solutions, a subsidiary of Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp., announced the closing at the same time it announced the potential closing of the Beaver Valley Power Station, a neighboring nuclear power plant.

On Friday, however, FirstEnergy said it will defer its closing of the W.H. Sammis Plant in Stratton, Ohio, about 22 miles downriver from Bruce Mansfield. The Sammis deactivation, originally scheduled for 2022, will be rescinded in light of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s signing last week of a coal and nuclear bailout bill.

Coal-fired power plants in the United States remain under significant economic pressure, according to EIA, and many plant owners have retired their coal-fired units because of increased competition from natural gas and renewables.

The annual number of retired U.S. coal units has declined since 2015, EIA said.

In 2018, plant owners retired more than 13 gigawatts of coal-fired generation capacity — the second-highest annual total for U.S. coal retirements in EIA’s dataset. The highest total for coal retirements, at 15 gigawatts, occurred in 2015.

Between 2010 and the first quarter of 2019, U.S. power companies announced the retirement of more than 546 coal-fired power units, totaling about 102 gigawatts of generating capacity, EIA said.

After a coal unit retires, the power plant site goes through a complex, multi-year process that includes decommissioning, remediation and redevelopment.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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