ORIGINAL REPORTING: Shuttered coal plant fixer-uppers for sale all over the U.S.
Shuttered coal plant fixer-uppers for sale all over the U.S.; More than half of all coal plants are, or will soon be, shuttered. Collaboration and compromise by some are beginning to reveal ways to reclaim the sites for new purposes.
Herman K. Trabish, Jan. 16, 2018 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: More efforts to turn Old Energy sites into New Energy have emerged since this story ran.
What is to become of the 57% of U.S. coal generation sites that now, or in the near future, no longer burn coal? Some are being converted to burn gas — a move opposed by environmental groups who prefer renewable energy — while others are finding a variety of non-energy uses. What are the challenges for those sites? And what about the majority of sites that have no current conversion plan? From 2008 to 2016, the U.S. saw nearly 35% of its coal generation capacity shut down, converted or scheduled for one or the other, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The most common reuse of shuttered coal sites has been conversion to natural gas generation. But more than 95% of them remain unremediated and unrepurposed, UCS found.
Site owners, leaders of the local communities and power sector stakeholders are starting to see a missed opportunity. Two significant barriers block access to the opportunity, according to both utility and community activists. One is the knotty question of what to do with decades of accumulated toxic coal ash. The other is the thorny economics of a transitioning power sector. Stakeholders say negotiating their way between these challenges is “complicated”. But collaboration and compromise by some pioneers on this power sector frontier is beginning to reveal ways to reclaim old ground for new purposes. The costs of remediation, site repurposing, and, where necessary, supporting the local community through an economic transition must all be part of the discussion, they add… click here for more
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