The Twilight of Coal In America

Dayton Power & Light Company (DP&L) has shut down two coal plants in Adams County, Ohio. The coal plants, Killen Station and J. M. Stuart Station had a combined power capacity of 2,733 MW.

DP&L, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio is a utility that serves over 500,000 customers in southwest Ohio. DP&L is a subsidiary of IGS Energy, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. IGS Energy supplies natural gas and electricity to over one million customers in California, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
The 618 MW Killen Station operated from 1982 to 2018. The 1,755 MW J. M. Stuart Station operated from 1970 to 2018. DP&L didn’t explain the decisions for the two coal plant closures. However, DP&L has raised concerns over the high operating cost of running coal fired power plants.

The latest data from the United States Energy Information Agency (EIA) show dramatic changes in the fuels that generate electrical power in America. Coal consumption has plummeted since 2008. As a result, carbon emissions from power plants has fallen to the lowest level since 1987, even though the demand for electricity has significantly increased over the past thirty years.

What is causing utilities across the United States to abandon coal as a fuel for electrical power? Cost and pollution, full stop. Natural gas is significantly cheaper than coal and has 30% to 40% lower greenhouse gas emissions as coal.

Hydroelectric power is as inexpensive as natural gas and has zero greenhouse gas emissions. Wind and solar power are cheaper than coal due to the current $0.025/kWh tax credit. Wind and solar energy have virtually no greenhouse gas emissions. The economics and environment are causing utilities to move to natural gas and renewable energy to provide electricity across the United States.

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