Pennsylvania Abandoning Costly Coal

The current population of Pennsylvania is estimated to be 12.81 million people. In April 2019, state utilities used nuclear (39.9%), natural gas (33.7%), coal (20.8%) and renewable energy (5.6%) to generate electricity. Hydropower, wind, biomass and solar are the primary sources of renewable energy in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s use of coal and nuclear energy contributes to state’s above average electricity costs. In April 2019, the average cost of electricity in Pennsylvania was U.S. 14.2 ¢ per kWh, which is the 15th most expensive state in the United States. The average price of electricity in the United States is U.S. 13.3 ¢ per kWh.

Concerns over climate change have prompted Pennsylvania legislators to mandate utilities to accelerate the move from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Pennsylvania is one of thirty states that has an enforceable statewide renewable portfolio standard. The standard requires that 18% of the electricity sold in the state by 2021. Pennsylvania is one of 24 states with a state-run grant program for renewable energy.

Pennsylvania utility, FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) has recently announced plans to close a 2,700 MW coal-fired power plant, located approximately 40 miles northwest of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. FES stated the Bruce Mansfield Unit 3 power plant was being closed 18 months ahead of schedule due to poor economic performance.

FES, headquartered in Akron, Ohio; provides electricity to customers in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Maryland and New Jersey. FES is a subsidiary of First Energy Corporation, an investor owned utility with over six million customers in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the Northeast.

The cheapest sources of electricity without any government incentives are onshore wind, solar and hydropower. The cost to generate electricity from coal is more than double the cost of onshore wind. Coal-fueled power plants across America are continuing to close and be replaced by renewable energy because of economics. Even climate change skeptics like to save money!

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