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Eastern Railroad Discussion > US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate


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Date: 01/13/20 10:01
US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: Lackawanna484

Second highest in history, says Reuters.  The still declining price of natural gas in some markets may cause even more closures

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-coal-decline-graphic/u-s-coal-fired-power-plants-closing-fast-despite-trumps-pledge-of-support-for-industry-idUSKBN1ZC15A



Date: 01/13/20 10:39
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: Tominde

Age and economics trump political desires.



Date: 01/13/20 13:18
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: NYC6001

Might be time to treat the carload and grain business a little better



Date: 01/13/20 16:44
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: scoobydoobydoo

Are there any left on the East Cost still operating and rieceving coal weekly...Scoob



Date: 01/13/20 17:54
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: ctillnc

Duke Energy still runs large coal plants in North Carolina: 727 MW at Mayo, 2422 MW at Roxboro, 2240 MW at Belews Creek, 2090 MW at Marshall, 1140 MW at Allen, and 1387 MW at Cliffside... 10 GW total. Duke has invested big bucks in these remaining plants to minimize air pollution. Allen will close by 2024 and Roxboro will close by 2033. The others are scheduled to remain active indefinitely... but that's subject to change. North Carolina peak solar capacity is over 6 GW now, roughly tied with Arizona for 2nd place behind California.



Date: 01/13/20 18:53
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: abyler

Tominde Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Age and economics trump political desires.

Actually political desires are what is forcing the closures. Most of this destruction of productive capital assets is purely political, not market driven.

"The coal industry has been in steep decline for a decade due to ... subsidized solar and wind energy,"

"Last week, Tri-State Generation and Transmission announced it would accelerate the retirement of two of its coal-fired power plants in Colorado and New Mexico as both states pursue ambitious targets to slash carbon emissions."



Date: 01/13/20 18:55
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: abyler

ctillnc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> that's subject to change. North Carolina peak
> solar capacity is over 6 GW now, roughly tied with
> Arizona for 2nd place behind California.

How much standby capacity is required to balance North Carolina's solar when the sun goes down or when it is winter and the sun is low in the sky or when it is cloudy?



Date: 01/14/20 07:12
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: ctillnc

It's a particularly valid question during summer, because the temperature can hang at 90 or above well after sunset. All those air conditioners, including mine, are still running flat-out at 8, 9, and 10 pm. But the peak demand is being covered mainly by plants burning natural gas and by increasing output from the nuclear plants. 

If every house had a Tesla recharging at night, the consumption pattern would be significantly different. This is where guesswork enters the picture.  



Date: 01/14/20 08:25
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: callum_out

Not to mention that "6GW peak capacity" is a pipe dream, most solar is lucky to run at 40% of that on an average basis.

Out 



Date: 01/14/20 10:14
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: ctillnc

That's true. On the other hand, for a lot of the time the coal plants are running at 25-50% of capacity... a region where they're not as efficient, either. 



Date: 01/14/20 14:56
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: alamode

abyler Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Tominde Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Age and economics trump political desires.
>
> Actually political desires are what is forcing the
> closures. Most of this destruction of productive
> capital assets is purely political, not market
> driven.
>
> "The coal industry has been in steep decline for a
> decade due to ... subsidized solar and wind
> energy,"
>
> "Last week, Tri-State Generation and Transmission
> announced it would accelerate the retirement of
> two of its coal-fired power plants in Colorado and
> New Mexico as both states pursue ambitious targets
> to slash carbon emissions."

Has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with economics. Simply, natural gas prices fell to a point where they were economically more attractive. Coal industry blames natural gas too. Solar costs are becoming the same or cheaper than natural gas -- and there are now solar tiles that can gather energy at night. Viable storage of gained solar energy is just about there - once final design is in place you'll see rapid change on that front as well.
 



Date: 01/14/20 15:11
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: Cole42

alamode Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Has nothing to do with politics and everything to
> do with economics.
Simply, natural gas prices fell
> to a point where they were economically more
> attractive. Coal industry blames natural gas too.
> Solar costs are becoming the same or cheaper than
> natural gas -- and there are now solar tiles that
> can gather energy at night. Viable storage of
> gained solar energy is just about there - once
> final design is in place you'll see rapid change
> on that front as well.

Well if you factor in the government subsidies that these other forms of energy production get, politics are involved.  Similar to the subsidies the air and highways get that are a strike against rail.  Economics are definitely the driving force, but we can't ignore subsidies.



Date: 01/14/20 15:56
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: ns1000

And solar/wind energy is not going to carry our population/growth into the future...

Posted from Android



Date: 01/14/20 16:04
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: exhaustED

ns1000 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And solar/wind energy is not going to carry our
> population/growth into the future...
>

They're playing a major role aleady and that role is going to grow. No one has said that they alone will be our only sorces of energy. And only a fool would predict the future of humanity with certainty.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/14/20 16:11 by exhaustED.



Date: 01/14/20 17:03
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: alamode

Cole42 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> alamode Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> >
> > Has nothing to do with politics and everything
> to
> > do with economics. Simply, natural gas prices
> fell
> > to a point where they were economically more
> > attractive. Coal industry blames natural gas
> too.
> > Solar costs are becoming the same or cheaper
> than
> > natural gas -- and there are now solar tiles
> that
> > can gather energy at night. Viable storage of
> > gained solar energy is just about there - once
> > final design is in place you'll see rapid
> change
> > on that front as well.
>
> Well if you factor in the government subsidies
> that these other forms of energy production get,
> politics are involved.  Similar to the subsidies
> the air and highways get that are a strike against
> rail.  Economics are definitely the driving
> force, but we can't ignore subsidies.

Since all forms of energy production in the USA are subsidized it is not a political issue.
 



Date: 01/14/20 17:20
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: Cole42

alamode Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

>
> Since all forms of energy production in the USA
> are subsidized it is not a political issue.

So transportation subsidies are not political issues either, not according to the passenger board.  And if economics are all that are driving energy production, if natural gas price goes up and the wind or solar farms cannot meet demand, and coal fired plants come back online, you will be good with that right?



Date: 01/14/20 18:08
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: Lackawanna484

Lots of change is happening. Always has, always will.

There's an enormous amount of money being thrown at solar, at wind, and even some at conservation. The efficiency of solar panels is growing, while the cost has dropped dramatically in the past decade.  Micro-inverters, and storage mounted in panels (Enphase has an interesting example), time of day electric pricing to capture the down part of the cycle.

Folks who believe natural gas prices will be rising soon have a wonderful opportunity to buy in the futures market, and to capture bargains with companies like Southwest Energy,  Compass, Chesapeake, etc.  Or, any number of coal companies.

Or, just watch Florida East Coast hauling freight up and down the line with diesel + natural gas blended locomotives.



Date: 01/15/20 06:09
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: abyler

alamode Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Has nothing to do with politics and everything to
> do with economics. Simply, natural gas prices fell
> to a point where they were economically more

But they aren't replacing the plants with natural gas plants, so that is a bogus reason.

> attractive. Coal industry blames natural gas too.
> Solar costs are becoming the same or cheaper than
> natural gas -- and there are now solar tiles that

Not true, since every solar plant needs a natural gas plant on standby with the same capacity.

> can gather energy at night. Viable storage of

This is supposedly being done with radiant heat. I'll believe it when I see it.

> gained solar energy is just about there - once
> final design is in place you'll see rapid change
> on that front as well.

I've been listening about "battery storage" meaning, pumping water uphill into a reservoir to let it out at night as a "viable" way of making solar work since I was in college in the early 90's.  Nobody's spending the money on that.



Date: 01/15/20 06:10
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: abyler

ctillnc Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If every house had a Tesla recharging at night,
> the consumption pattern would be significantly
> different. This is where guesswork enters the
> picture.  

That's backwards. You want to charge the vehicles during the day when the sun is at its peak and reserve any power you have at night for the more mundane low base loads. But that's not how we live and work.



Date: 01/15/20 06:13
Re: US coal fired electric plants closing at a rapid rate
Author: Lackawanna484

I'm not sure you could even do pumped storage anymore.   Storm King put the nail in that coffin decades ago.



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