Ripe for Retirement: The Case for Closing America's Costliest Coal Plants said that as many as 353 coal-fired power generators in 31 states are no longer economically viable — especially when compared to cleaner, more affordable energy sources — including 11 units at seven plants in Florida.
The report was written by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) in partnership with Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE).
According to the report, the top five states with plants that should be put into retirement mode are Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and Michigan.
"Our analysis shows that switching to cleaner energy sources and investing in energy efficiency often makes more economic sense than spending billions to extend the life of these obsolete coal plants," said Steve Frenkel, report co-author and director of UCS's Midwest office.
Regarding the listed coal plants in Florida, Susan Glickman, a lobbyist with the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, said, "With seven coal units no longer economically viable, there is an imperative in Florida for a transparent utility planning process to make good planning decisions which foster the most cost effective solutions such as energy efficiency. Duke Energy, now the biggest utility in the country, has a unique opportunity to be leaders by shifting away from dangerous coal and to meet the energy needs of their customers with cleaner, less costly and less risky resources."
It's already been announced that three coal generated power plants in Florida will close down, including the Crystal River plant that was owned by Progress Energy, which recently merged with Duke.
The authors of the report acknowledge that there are factors other than operating costs that will influence which coal generators are retired. Such factors include:
1) Whether the coal units are located in regulated or deregulated electricity markets, which can greatly influence whether power plant owners can pass coal plant upgrade costs on to ratepayers.
2) Where the coal units are located on the power grid.
3) What cleaner alternative energy sources are available nearby.
4) Whether power transmission lines are available to deliver those cleaner alternatives to customers.
But the authors of the report said the trend is clear, "Collectively, these factors are leading to an accelerated retirement of coal generating capacity in the United States."