Massive shutdown of U.S. coal plants expected within 5 to 8 years

Back in December of 2009, Sustainable Business reported that no new coal-fired power plants were erected that year. In fact, SB indicated that 26 coal plant proposals had been either "defeated or abandoned." Well, it appears that the trend to shift away from coal power will continue.

Late last week, Energy Secretary Steven Chu spoke at a renewable energy conference in Washington. Chu told conference-goers, "We're going to see massive retirements within the next five, eight years. Much of our fleet of coal plants is 40 to 50 years old."

Furthermore, President Barack Obama proposed that the U.S. should require that 80 percent of its electricity comes from so-called "clean" sources by 2035. Under Obama's proposal, most coal-fired power plants would give way to wind turbines, nuclear reactors, natural gas-fired power plants and renewable energy sources.

While it's obvious that a shift away from coal to cleaner energy sources could reduce well-to-wheel emissions of plug-in vehicles, it's worth pointing out that renewable energy options are often more expensive, which could drive up costs of recharging battery-powered autos.

[Source: Bloomberg | Image: brownpau - C.C. License 2.0]

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