Coal Plant Retirements Outpacing Accredited Renewable Capacity Additions

A report co-authored by the Sierra Club and featured in the Washington Post’s “Utility climate pledges amount to ‘greenwashing,’ report says criticizes electric utilities for, in part, not retiring coal plants fast enough. In fact, grid operators and state utility commissions are warning that retirements are outpacing accredited renewable capacity additions, putting the reliability of the electric grid at risk. Coal-fired generation and other dispatchable sources are needed to maintain reliability and balance the intermittency of renewables. In fact, coal, natural gas, and nuclear are five to six times more dependable than wind and twice as dependable as solar when electricity demand peaks. With almost half the existing coal fleet set to retire between now and 2030, grid operators, utility commissions and regulators can and should take steps to prevent the possibility of massive retirements. The electric grid is under transition and coal will continue to be needed to help ensure a reliable and resilient grid.