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Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1800 on: December 03, 2020, 01:26:05 AM »
China's electricity production increased by 4.6% in October compared to October 2019.  Yet China's coal imports are down 46.6% from October 2019 and domestic production only rose by 1.4%.  Measured against September, China's coal production is down by 0.9%.

https://www.argusmedia.com/en/news/2160133-chinas-october-coal-output-points-to-domestic-shortage?backToResults=true

The drop in Chinese coal imports is hitting Australia and Indonesia coal producers hard.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/australian-coal-wins-attention-but-indonesian-exports-to-china-have-fallen-the-most/



Somehow, China is managing to increase their electricity production while decreasing their imports and domestic production of coal.

It may have something to do with the fact that renewables are less expensive than coal.

https://www.iea.org/data-and-statistics/charts/electricity-mix-in-china-january-september-2020

Renewable energy costs have dropped so much that China could generate more than 60% of it's electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2020/08/10/plummeting-renewable-energy-battery-prices-mean-china-could-hit-62-clean-power-and-cut-costs-11-by-2030/?sh=773a4d861519

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Aug 10, 2020
Plummeting Renewable Energy, Battery Prices Mean China Could Hit 62% Clean Power And Cut Costs 11% By 2030
Silvio Marcacci

China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, and is building the most power plants of any country in the world, making its decarbonization paramount to preventing dangerous climate change. But the costs of wind, solar, and energy storage have fallen so fast that building clean power is now cheaper than building fossil fuels – a lot cheaper.

New research shows plummeting clean energy prices mean China could reliably run its grids on at least 62% non-fossil electricity generation by 2030, while cutting costs 11% compared to a business-as-usual approach. Once again, it’s cheaper to save the climate than destroy it.


Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1801 on: December 03, 2020, 07:55:17 PM »
Alabama, U.S.
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Tennessee Valley Authority (@TVAnews) 12/3/20, 9:55 AM
Boom! The final 1,000' stack that once served the retired Widows Creek Fossil Plant near Stevenson, AL, was safely imploded earlier today. The removal of the old plant, which was idled in 2014, is about 90% complete. The site is being prepared for future economic redevelopment. 
➡️ https://twitter.com/tvanews/status/1334511473901641728
30 sec video at the link.
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Re: Coal
« Reply #1802 on: December 04, 2020, 06:54:43 PM »
Decker coal mine files for bankruptcy. Wyoming
https://trib.com/buisness/energy/more-than-75-employees-laid-off-as-decker-coal-mine-owner-files-for-bankruptcy

They were behind a failed lawsuit attempt to force Washington state to allow a coal export terminal. A permit application was rejected because plan didn't include sufficient pollution protection for the port facility. Several coal mines have attempted to open a coal export terminal on the western coast of US.
They produced  709,000 tons of coal in third quarter this year down 42% from third quarter last year. The article is in denial about the future of coal.


from elsewhere 25% of Wyoming economy is directly employed by coal oil natural gas and minerals. Most likely over half of the economy is supported by fossil fuels. 33163 workers employed in energy (2019) out of 549914 population. Fossil fuel extraction pays well individual median income 89000 (2018) Campbell county Wyoming compared to 33706 (2020) national average. Wyoming produces about a third to half of US coal(2019). Clearly they will fight to keep those jobs but demand continues to fall.
 

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1803 on: December 04, 2020, 08:48:59 PM »
US capacity factor or why coal bankruptcies will continue until all coal plants closed or capacity factor goes above 50%
« Last Edit: December 04, 2020, 09:07:09 PM by interstitial »

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1804 on: December 05, 2020, 04:47:26 PM »
A Reminder of where coal capacity is. 72.8% of capacity is in China, US and India. In the US coal is shrinking. In India coal is still growing but there is significant pushback. With new government not in coals pocket and realization how bad air pollution is because of Covid 19 change may happen. China claims to be concerned about pollution but new coal capacity is increasing at a rapid rate. The counter argument is capacity factor at coal plants continues to fall and renewables are also expanding quickly.  So quickly the argument goes that fossil fuels will be displaced. The new 5 year plan was supposed to stop all new coal construction but they continue to expand quickly and that may be put off for another five years.  In the end actions speak loader than words and Chinese coal plants can single handedly blow past any climate change carbon goals. Coal plant construction and operations seem to help regional administrators reach employment and economic goals even if they don’t make money. In the end I don’t know enough about Chinese politics to understand how this will likely play out. It sounds a lot like western governments agreement on the Paris climate accord. They claim the lofty goal in the long term but mostly ignore what it takes to get there in the short term. More of the action in decarbonization is happening because of economics than politics. Economies of scale in my opinion would not have been achieved without the politics and government money.

gerontocrat

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1805 on: December 05, 2020, 06:55:01 PM »
China claims to be concerned about pollution but new coal capacity is increasing at a rapid rate. The counter argument is capacity factor at coal plants continues to fall and renewables are also expanding quickly.  So quickly the argument goes that fossil fuels will be displaced. The new 5 year plan was supposed to stop all new coal construction but they continue to expand quickly and that may be put off for another five years.  In the end actions speak loader than words and Chinese coal plants can single handedly blow past any climate change carbon goals. Coal plant construction and operations seem to help regional administrators reach employment and economic goals even if they don’t make money.

In the end I don’t know enough about Chinese politics to understand how this will likely play out.

Nobody knows enough about Chinese politics to understand how this will likely play out?

I have one guess - imports from Australia + Indonesia will be the first to be hit to allow some reduction in coal use without hammering Chinese internal employment until.......
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gerontocrat

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1806 on: December 15, 2020, 05:19:05 PM »
Meanwhile.... Alberta continues

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/15/alberta-canada-coal-rush-mining-exports
As oil prices languish, Alberta sees its future in a 'coal rush'
At least six new or expanded mines could be built as a new conservative provincial government aims to increase coal production for export

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With the price of Western Canadian oil languishing around $35 a barrel and Canadian oil sands companies hemorrhaging both workers and money, the province of Alberta sees its future in another fossil fuel: coal.

A “coal rush” in the province could see at least six new or expanded open-pit coal mines built up and down the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains, mostly by Australian companies. Together, these projects could industrialize as much as 1,000 sq km of forests, waterways and grasslands, an area the size of Vancouver Island.

Alberta has eight operating coal mines and more than 91bn tonnes of mineable coal, but until recently, Alberta had a restrictive coal-mining policy that’s been in place for 44 years to protect drinking water for millions of people. In 2015 the previous Alberta government announced a plan to eliminate coal-fired electricity by 2030, a goal Canada’s federal government embraced three years later to help fulfill Canada’s greenhouse-gas-reduction commitments to the Paris Agreement.

Canada, along with the United Kingdom, also launched the Powering Past Coal Alliance at the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference to accelerate the phase-out of coal-fired power plants worldwide.

Yet despite the commitment to eliminate coal-fired electricity, the new conservative provincial government has pulled out all the stops to increase coal production for export.

It rescinded the 1976 coal mining policy without public consultation, after spending months wooing Australian coal companies. It also reduced the corporate tax rate from 10 to 8%, axed provincial parks in coal-rich areas, offered one percent royalties (Australia’s is a minimum of seven), and passed legislation to fast-track project approvals.

“Through this approach we are striking the balance of ensuring strong environmental protection with providing industry with incentive to increase investment” in export coal production, Alberta environment minister Jason Nixon said in a press release announcing the coal policy repeal.

The new mines are mostly meant to supply coking, or metallurgical, coal used to make steel. Steelmaking accounts for 4.8% of global industrial carbon emissions. Unlike the market for coal used in power plants, which is beginning to crumble, coking coal is in high demand, particularly in China, which produces almost half of the world’s steel. Coking coal is expected to remain profitable in the near future as the Chinese economy rebounds from the Covid pandemic.

“It’s all pretty shocking,” said Katie Morrison, conservation director of the southern Alberta chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “The government is saying this is going to be the next economic boon for the province, but it’s just another boom-and-bust economy. And there’s a good chance [the mines] will go bust before they ever clean up their mess, and the public will be left with the clean-up costs.”
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kassy

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1807 on: December 15, 2020, 10:05:47 PM »
They always go bust before they clean up their mess since you can plan for that.

So can the central government say don´t do that or are they unlikely to do so?

Þetta minnismerki er til vitnis um að við vitum hvað er að gerast og hvað þarf að gera. Aðeins þú veist hvort við gerðum eitthvað.

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1808 on: December 17, 2020, 12:29:02 AM »
They always go bust before they clean up their mess since you can plan for that.

So can the central government say don´t do that or are they unlikely to do so?


In general to prevent that there is sometimes a push to require companies set aside money for cleanup. Companies wait for a little while and reduce it to a token amount or get the requirement changed or lifted entirely. Or they get the rules changed so they can spend it. Funds were supposed to be set aside to clean up oil wells. The original requirement may have been sufficient but that never lasts.

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1809 on: December 17, 2020, 12:53:23 AM »
I don't know why Canadian politicians would even consider opening a coal mine now.  The only growth market is China and they indicated they are working towards severely reducing or eliminating energy imports. China indicated they will do that by increasing domestic coal production and increasing renewable energy. This is even stupider than US politicians pushing new LNG infrastructure for exports. The coal market is already collapsing especially import markets, the LNG market is oversupplied but demand hasn't peaked yet. Hopefully it will soon. Generally the public in British Columbia, the Canadian province with access to the Pacific, has fought hard to resist its ports from being used for fossil fuels. Hopefully they will shut down this absurdity as well.

crandles

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1810 on: December 17, 2020, 01:19:59 AM »
They always go bust before they clean up their mess since you can plan for that.

So can the central government say don´t do that or are they unlikely to do so?


In general to prevent that there is sometimes a push to require companies set aside money for cleanup. Companies wait for a little while and reduce it to a token amount or get the requirement changed or lifted entirely. Or they get the rules changed so they can spend it. Funds were supposed to be set aside to clean up oil wells. The original requirement may have been sufficient but that never lasts.

Where are the auditors requiring adequate provision for liabilities like clean up costs to be built up over the period of time the oil wells are generating profits?

Well if this is tipping the company into negative assets, should the company go bankrupt immediately? That would ensure there isn't enough provided for. So in such a situation, there can be a pressure to understate such liabilities for the moment in the hope better times come which will allow more of a liability provision to be built up.

Do you want stricter rules that would make companies go bankrupt sooner?

If better times are a real possibility then some turning blind eye to underestimates in such calculations may be sensible. If the reality is that better times are not coming then the government left with such liabilities perhaps should be able to pursue the auditors but the auditors limit their liability to the shareholders as a body however and wherever they can.

Meanwhile directors want their salary and bonuses to continue so they continue putting lower estimates into clean up cost calculations.

Perhaps a different liability provision requiring full provision the moment you start would help but this might mean many projects never get started because it would be too big a hit on profits. That isn't what the government has wanted in the past want gdp increases now and problems in more than 20 years time have little if any meaning to politicians that won't be in power then. Perhaps with new ff projects soon disappearing it would be sensible to be brought in for this sector? Then what about nuclear?

Lots of different groups with different priorities. Perhaps a required ff extraction industry insurance to pay for clean up where companies go bust would work better? Think it would need rapidly increasing premiums over next couple of decades. If that kills off the sector earlier so much the better?

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1811 on: December 17, 2020, 02:53:28 AM »
At the end of the day a good deal is a good deal for everyone involved. If a deal doesn't get done because it can't fund its own cleanup that is a win.






gerontocrat

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1812 on: December 17, 2020, 12:33:40 PM »
They always go bust before they clean up their mess since you can plan for that.

So can the central government say don´t do that or are they unlikely to do so?
In general to prevent that there is sometimes a push to require companies set aside money for cleanup. Companies wait for a little while and reduce it to a token amount or get the requirement changed or lifted entirely. Or they get the rules changed so they can spend it. Funds were supposed to be set aside to clean up oil wells. The original requirement may have been sufficient but that never lasts.
Coal Oil and Gas companies are usually required to set aside realistic funds for end of life cleanup costs. Ideally these should be real funds from cash transfers and locked up until needed, e.g. in escrow.

In many states in the USA lobbysists persuaded State Legislatures to pass laws that reduced the required value of these funds and, more importantly, allowed the funds to be paper funds only. So when the company goes bust or is sold on, there is no actual cash to carry out clean-up - hence the multiplicity of superfund sites.

I doubt that these immoral & unethical practices are confined to Republican controlled States. You will also find similar practices everywhere in the world where the fossil fuel and mining companies operate. But do your investigations from a distance - several hundred environmental activists are murdered every year, mostly involved in fossil fuel, forestry and mining. The companies might not play for keeps but they hire people who do.

Some say (including me) that this is one reason Cost-Benefit Analysis - so fashionable in the 1960's and 70's, is out of favour. Identifying the full costs and benefits to society of projects exposes the hidden costs and hidden benefits which are far more likely to favour "green" projects than those favoured by legacy industries and finance that still mostly control the world economy.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2020, 03:14:29 PM by gerontocrat »
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Grubbegrabben

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1813 on: December 17, 2020, 11:14:01 PM »
Quote
The new mines are mostly meant to supply coking, or metallurgical, coal used to make steel. Steelmaking accounts for 4.8% of global industrial carbon emissions. Unlike the market for coal used in power plants, which is beginning to crumble, coking coal is in high demand, particularly in China, which produces almost half of the world’s steel. Coking coal is expected to remain profitable in the near future as the Chinese economy rebounds from the Covid pandemic.

They better hurry then. The steel industry is investing in new technology to go fossil free.

"HYBRIT stands for Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology. The objective is to have a completely fossil-free process for steel making by 2035"

https://www.lkab.com/en/about-lkab/technological-and-process-development/research-collaborations/hybrit--for-fossil-free-steel/

Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1814 on: December 20, 2020, 03:14:28 AM »
Dec 18, 2020
The three stacks at the retired Navajo Generating Station power plant near Page, Arizona, U.S., were demolished today.
1 minute video.

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Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1815 on: December 21, 2020, 07:49:13 PM »
Pakistan is cancelling 27 GW of planned coal plants and building renewables instead.

https://www.globalconstructionreview.com/news/pakistan-raises-eyebrows-dropping-plans-new-coal-p/

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Pakistan raises eyebrows by dropping plans for new coal plants

18 December 2020 | By GCR Staff

In a surprise move, Pakistan has abandoned plans to build 27GW of coal power plants between 2030 and 2047, and will invest in renewable energy instead.

Quote
Some $6bn of plants under construction will be completed, but no new projects will be undertaken.

Pakistan had based its energy strategy on the discovery, in the early nineties, of a huge coal deposit beneath the Thar desert in Sindh Province. The country has just begun to exploit this with a Chinese-financed coal mine and 330MW power plant, completed last year.

Quote
Over the last five years, Pakistan has built 18 wind power projects generating 937MW, six solar power projects producing 418MW. However, wind, solar, hydro and nuclear make up only 36% of the energy mix, and the remainder is produced by fossil fuels – mainly natural gas.

gerontocrat

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1816 on: December 23, 2020, 09:01:27 PM »
https://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/monthly/

US Coal production, though well down on 2019, has stabilised from July to November at around 45 million tons per month.

Coal consumption has dropped sharply in September. This is due to a very large fall in use of coal for electricity, which in the previous two months came from drawdown of coal stocks amounting to 20 million tons.

This thread has seen a good few announcements of US coal plant and mine closures. It will be interesting to see the impact on production and consumption over the coming months.
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Sigmetnow

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1817 on: December 28, 2020, 10:41:59 PM »
Pakistan signals coal power exit, in potential model for China’s belt and road
Imran Khan announced his government would not approve any more coal power plants and pivot to renewables, contrary to the grid operator’s forecast of a coal boom
Dec 16, 2020
Quote
Pakistan’s prime minister has called a halt to a Chinese-backed coal power boom, in a pivot to renewables that could inspire others in China’s orbit – if put into action.

On Saturday, Imran Khan told a virtual gathering of global leaders: “We have decided we will not have any more power based on coal”.

Simon Nicholas, an energy finance analyst with Ieefa, said: “On the face of it, this is a highly significant statement for Pakistan, which was until now intending to exploit its domestic coal reserves.” The Pakistani Alliance for Climate Justice and Clean Energy (ACJCE) said the announcement was “a step in the right direction”.

Plants under construction are expected to be completed, but the announcement pours cold water on the national grid operator’s projections of a significant expansion of coal power. As recently as April, the National Transmission and Despatch Company forecast 27GW of coal power capacity would be added between 2030 and 2047, bringing the total to 38GW. “This [plan] will now need to be re-written,” Nicholas said. ...
https://www.climatechangenews.com/2020/12/16/pakistan-signals-coal-power-exit-potential-model-chinas-belt-road/
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Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1818 on: January 06, 2021, 06:03:27 PM »
The global coal industry is relying on new power plants in Asia to make up for the demand loss caused by the retirements of coal fired power plants in the US and Europe.  In 2020, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam cancelled 45 GW of planned new coal plants.  This is in addition to the 27 GW cancelled by Pakistan, noted above.  More plants were deferred until the 2030s and with the growth of renewables, those plants will probably not be built.

https://oilprice.com/Energy/Coal/Will-Asia-Actually-Fuel-A-Comeback-In-Coal.html

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Will Asia Actually Fuel A Comeback In Coal?
By Felicity Bradstock - Jan 05, 2021


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According to a report published by Global Energy Monitor (GEM), large emerging Asian economies Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam cancelled as much as 45GW of coal power during 2020. While coal appeared the obvious answer for short-term energy supply across Asia, the experience of the energy sector in 2020 has made many look towards renewables for the future of energy.

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While many suggested a ‘renaissance’ of the coal industry throughout 2020, this is looking evermore doubtful. Several big funds are moving away from coal, including Australia’s biggest super fund, AustralianSuper, and Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global; which has a tight cap on its coal investments.

In addition to a reduction in financing from major funders, energy companies are themselves hinting at a movement away from coal. Glenmore, the western world’s biggest coal producer, stated plans for a “managed decline of its coal business” and net-zero emissions by 2050 in its annual investor update. This suggests a gradual but eventual shift away from coal.

Generally, despite optimism for a coal comeback throughout 2020, the realities of 2021 suggest otherwise. Pressure to invest more heavily in renewables and the lack of economic incentive to develop the coal industry further means that the coal era may be coming to an end.

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1819 on: January 07, 2021, 09:54:30 AM »
I think China has found a way to increase renewable energy in a way that is more palatable internally than having the goal of increasing renewable energy. They are making a push to reduce dependence on energy imports. With about 20 gw per year increase in PV production capacity planned by the end of next year China expects to add more renewable energy. In addition to making the country stronger economically using more PV cells supports the renewable energy industry. Partially they plan on developing more domestic coal mines. In the short term China coal prices are on the rise as state coal enterprises are not allowed to buy from Australia. Deliveries from Mongolia and Russia have increased. In the long term this is supposed to reduce overall coal use but will likely make coal harder to completely get rid of in the long term. 

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1820 on: January 11, 2021, 07:40:39 PM »
At one point in the last decade, there were six planned coal export terminals on the US west coast.  None of them have been built.  Five of the six have already been cancelled.  The sixth one was cancelled last week.

https://www.ft.com/content/1e4890c9-8ef1-41f6-a057-a92f9ae5fcb1

Quote
US coalminers’ Asia ‘pipe dream’ evaporates
Collapse of west coast port project deals blow to hopes of an export-driven recovery
Gregory Meyer 1/11/21


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   https://www.ft.com/content/1e4890c9-8ef1-41f6-a057-a92f9ae5fcb1

   US coal miners’ last-ditch hope for shipping big volumes to Asia has crumbled as the developer of a sprawling export terminal abandons its project on the Pacific coast.

The Millennium Bulk Terminal would have loaded 44m metric tonnes a year of thermal coal for export to electric utilities — a potential boost for producers reeling from the decline of coal-fired power generation in the US.

But the project’s bankrupt owner on Saturday pulled the plug, making it the last of more than half a dozen proposed west coast coal ports never to be built. “It’s the end of the pipe dream that Asia can save the US coal industry,” said Clark Williams-Derry, analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, a research group that favours clean energy.



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The Millennium project’s current owner, the mining company Lighthouse Resources, filed for bankruptcy protection in December. The company on Saturday relinquished the site to land owner Northwest Alloys, a subsidiary of the aluminium maker Alcoa. Alcoa said it would evaluate plans for the location, making no mention of coal.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Coal
« Reply #1821 on: January 11, 2021, 07:55:45 PM »
In the US, utilities keep advancing the planned retirement dates of coal plants.  That's because it's more expensive to burn coal than to build new solar or wind plants.

https://trib.com/business/energy/another-coal-plant-to-retire-early-wyomings-biggest-utility-delays-discussion-on-coal/article_86b30bab-c537-50f8-a833-e4c7faa7f375.html

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Another coal plant to retire early; Wyoming's biggest utility delays discussion on coal
Camille Erickson Jan 8, 2021

nother coal-fired power plant will retire earlier than originally planned just south of Wyoming’s border.

The Hayden Generating Station in northwest Colorado will join dozens of other coal units in closing early to save ratepayers money on electricity and meet new climate protocols.

Utility company Xcel Energy announced this week it plans to close Unit 2 of its Hayden Generating Station by 2027, about three years earlier than previously planned. Unit 1 would be retired by 2028, instead of in 2036. Together, the units have 441 megawatts of generating capacity. The Colorado-based Twentymile mine supplies the plant with coal.

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Though a minority owner, PacifiCorp reported it would save ratepayers $81 million if it shuttered the Hayden units early.

The move to retire the facilities sooner than originally planned is part of a growing effort by utilities to lower carbon emissions and transition to lower-cost energy sources. Xcel aims to slash its carbon emissions from electricity to zero by 2050.