Friday, June 5, 2009

Coal Plants Are Dying Nationwide, Checkout This Coal DeathMap

Earth2Tech writer Craig Rubens shares this map showing the death of planned new coal generation plants between 2005 and 2007. During that time utilities and other power producers canceled 21 projects located in 15 states. In 2008 the National Energy Technology Laboratory changed their projections of new coal fired projects to be constructed by 2020 from 151 in May to 120 by October. That is 30 plants off the table in five months!

Mary Manning of the Las Vegas Sun reports this trend is continuing with the cancellation of two coal plants in Nevada and one in Iowa this year alone. Instead of new coal fired generation developer LS Power plans to focus on a new transmission line, the South West Intertie Project ("SWIP") connecting southern Idaho with Las Vegas. This chart from the Nevada PUC shows that, until the coal fired Mojave Generation Plant was shut down in 2005 for refusing to install pollution controls, Nevada exported far more energy than they imported. The SWIP line will allow Nevada to access these geothermal sites, this solar potential, and widespread wind. Manning also reports that LS Power is still pushing forward with a 1.5 gigawatt coal plant near Ely. Get interactive versions of these maps developed by university of Nevada Reno that display renewable potential along with land ownership and management classification. If Nevada returns to a net exporter and the SWIP connects Las Vegas and southern Idaho than it seems like Idaho is being set up to purchases public lands power generated on this desert landscape.

So while some plants die others are born. Until the public breaks the economic incentive for utilities to collect money only for units of energy sold we can expect to merely shift between generation sources instead of talking about money saving, environment saving, and security saving efficiency and conservation.

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