Opinion

Almost all Power Plants that Retired in the Past Decade Were Powered by Fossil Fuels


graph of U.S. utility-scale electric generating capacity retirements, as explained in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory
Note: Includes reported retirements through October 2017 and reported planned retirements for November and December.

Nearly all of the utility-scale power plants in the United States that were retired from 2008 through 2017 were fueled by fossil fuels. Of the total retired capacity, coal power plants and natural gas steam turbines accounted for the highest percentages, 47% and 26%, respectively. Most of the planned retirements through 2020 will also be coal plants and natural gas steam turbines, based on information reported to EIA.

Various factors influence the decision to retire a power plant. For example, the coal power plants retired since 2008 were relatively old and small, averaging 52 years and 105 megawatts (MW), compared with the fleet of coal plants still operating, at 39 years and 319 MW. Other influential factors include changes in regional electricity use, federal or state policies that affect plant operation, and state policies that require or encourage the use of certain fuels such as renewables.

Improving technologies also play a part in plant retirement decisions but may not change the overall use of any one fuel. For example, older natural gas steam turbine technologies may retire, even as newer, more efficient, and operationally flexible technologies such as natural gas-fired combined-cycle and combustion-turbine capacity are being built.

The Western, Texas, and Eastern interconnections comprise the power grid of the Lower 48 states. The Western Interconnection covers the area from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas covers most of Texas. The Eastern Interconnection covers the area east of the Rocky Mountains and includes some parts of Texas. In this analysis, states are grouped to roughly reflect the three interconnections.

graph of changes in regional electricity generation capacity, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

The Eastern region contains most of the U.S. electricity generating capacity—736 gigawatts (GW) of the nation's 1,076 GW, as of October 2017. The East had the largest share of capacity retirements in the past 10 years compared with the Western and Texas regions, at 10% of Eastern region capacity. Coal-fired capacity in particular was disproportionally affected in this region, as 19% of the Eastern region's coal capacity retired in the past decade, compared with 17% of the national coal capacity.

graph of eastern region utility-scale electric generating capacity retirements, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

Of the three regions in the U.S. power grid, Texas has the least amount of generating capacity, totaling 123 GW as of October 2017. Since 2008, most retirements in Texas were generators that used natural gas steam and petroleum technologies. During that period, a total of 35% of Texas natural gas-fired steam turbine capacity and 66% of petroleum capacity retired. Coal retirements totaling 532 megawatts (MW) accounted for 2% of total installed coal capacity in Texas. However, Texas is expected to have 5,583 MW of coal retirements in 2018, based on planned retirement dates reported to EIA.

graph of Texas utility-scale electric generating capacity retirements, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

The Western region of the United States has about 217 GW of operating capacity. San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Units 2 and 3 provided 2.1 GW (23%) of the Western region's nuclear capacity before their retirement in 2013. Since 2008, natural gas steam turbine retirements accounted for 46% of the region's installed natural gas steam capacity.

graph of western region utility-scale electric generating capacity retirements, as explained in the article text
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory

Principal contributors: Scott Jell, Michelle Bowman


Visit source site

https://eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=34452&...

United StatesUSEIAEnergy Information Administration EIAElectricityFossil Fuelsnatural gasOil

More items from oilvoice


S&P Global Platts Survey of Analysts Suggests U.S. EIA Data to Show 189-Bcf Draw to Natural Gas Stocks

WASHINGTON (January 17, 2018) – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday is expected to report a 189-billion cubic feet (Bcf) withdrawal for the week that ended January 12, according to a survey of analysts by S&P Global Platts, the leading independent provider of information an ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 1 hour agoOpinion > S&P Global PlattsUSUnited States +4

S&P Global Platts Preview of U.S. EIA Data: Likely to Show Crude Stocks Fell 425,000 Barrels

NEW YORK (January 16, 2018) – Tightening US crude stocks recently turned NYMEX crude's nearby term structure to backwardation, which could attract even more speculative length into the market and help sustain higher prices, according to a Tuesday S&P Global Platts preview of this week's pending U.S ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 1 hour agoOpinion > S&P Global PlattsUSUnited States +4

Faroe Petroleum: Eight Exploration Licences Awarded in Norway

Faroe Petroleum, the independent oil and gas company focussing principally on exploration, appraisal and production opportunities in Norway and the UK, is pleased to announce that it has been awarded eight new prospective exploration licences, including four operatorships, in the Norwegian North Se ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 9 hours agoPress > Faroe PetroleumNorwayLicences Awarded +4

Lundin Petroleum: Update on Fourth Quarter 2017 Financial Results

Lundin Petroleum AB (Lundin Petroleum) will expense pre-tax exploration costs of approximately MUSD 31 and recognise a net foreign exchange loss of approximately MUSD 69 as well as an after tax loss on sale of assets of MUSD 15 for the fourth quarter of 2017. The profitability for the fourth quar ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 9 hours agoPress > Lundin PetroleumFinancial Resultsexploration

Milestone Achievement for Empyrean Energy as Production and Gas Sales Now Underway at Dempsey Well California

Production and Sale of Gas from Dempsey 1-15 Well Commences Empyrean Energy (EME: AIM), the oil and gas development company with interests in China, Indonesia and the United States, is pleased to announce that it has been informed by Sacgasco Limited (ASX: SGC) (“Sacgasco”), the operator of the ...

OilVoice Press - OilVoice


Posted 11 hours agoPress > Empyrean EnergyDempsey Gas WellCalifornia +5
All posts from oilvoice