Ripe for Retirement: the case for closing America’s costliest power plants


Union of Concerned Scientists, 2012

There are numerous well documented reasons reduce the reliance on coal power plants, however one reason that is often not mentioned is that many of these power plants have reached the end of their lifecycle and it is uneconomical to keep them running when cheaper, cleaner alternatives are available. This report finds that more than three quarters of the U.S coal fired power plants have outlived their 30 year life span – with 17% being older than half a century. As of May 2012, a total of 288 coal fired generating units, totalling 41.2 gigawatts of coal fired generating capacity have been scheduled for closure. This report argues that there are many more uncompetitive coal power stations in the United States that should be considered for closure. Their retirement would create an opportunity to accelerate our nations transition to a cleaner energy future by shifting more of the electricity sector’s investment dollars away from old coal power plants towards renewable energy resources, energy saving technologies and an expanded and modernised electricity grid.

Read the full report here