January ’14 cold pushes retiring plant capacity above 50%

Jan 2014 capacity factors (Source: Coal Age / SNL)

Jan 2014 capacity factors (Source: Coal Age / SNL)

We have been saying this for some time now, EPA regulations that are forcing so many #coal plants to close will place real people in danger. Most of the plants slated for retirement over the next few years were needed to keep lights, heat, and power on during the ‘polar vortex’ this year.

Even with their retirements looming, a cold January — particularly across the coal-heavy Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions — prompted an increased reliance on units slated to retire by the end of 2015, according to an analysis by SNL Energy. A full 81% of coal-fired capacity slated to be retired by the end of 2015 produced positive net generation in January, according to the analysis, lining up closely with American Electric Power Co. Inc. CEO Nicholas Akin’s statement in January that 89% of the AEP coal fleet scheduled for retirement by mid-2015 was required to run during the winter.

The 13,298 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired capacity retiring before 2016 generated 5.13 million MWh during January, for an average capacity factor of 51.82%, compared with the 34.18% January 2013 average capacity factor.

16. June 2014 by Jason Hayes
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