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The End of An Era: Closing the Door on Building New Coal-fired Power Plants in America

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Publication Date: March 2009

Publisher(s): Earth Policy Institute

Author(s): Jonathan G. Dorn

Series: Plan B Update 2009-01

Topic: Energy (Coal industry)

Keywords: renewable energy; energy efficiency; coal-fired power plants; carbon dioxide emissions

Type: Report

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

Community opposition, legal challenges, and financial uncertainty over future carbon costs are prompting companies to rethink their plans for coal. Since the beginning of 2007, 95 proposed coal-fired power plants have been cancelled or postponed in the United States--59 in 2007, 24 in 2008, and at least 12 in the first three months of 2009. This covers nearly half of the 200 or so U.S. coal-fired power plants that have been proposed for construction since 2000. The vast majority of the remaining proposals are essentially on hold, awaiting word on whether the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is going to impose limits on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. With further legal challenges ahead and the regulation of CO2 imminent, 2009 may very well witness the end of new coal-fired power plants in the United States.