Archive: Coal

Flower growing in a pile of bituminous Kentucky coal. Courtesy: Una Nowling

As DOE’s Coal Rescue Reportedly Dead-Ends, Stakeholders Recommend New Pathways

The White House may have shelved an effort to force grid operators to buy power from uneconomic coal and nuclear plants amid opposition inside the administration, Politico reported on October 15.  The publication reported “four people with knowledge of the discussions” have confirmed that opposition from the president’s own advisers on the National Security Council […]

Coal silos like this need our immediate attention! Courtesy: Joe W. Frey Engineering Associates, LLC

Coal Silo Failures Reveal the Need for NDE Inspection

In July 2016, a coal silo collapsed at an Indiana power plant. The root cause was identified as cracking of the cone-to-skirt weld. Warnings to inspect this vulnerable weld were published widely in conference proceedings and trade journal articles. Nevertheless, coal silos continue to fail at an alarming rate (Figure 1), which suggests that the […]


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Conesville, Ohio, power plant - American Electric Power

AEP Will Close Ohio Coal Plant Early

American Electric Power (AEP) this week confirmed it will close its coal-fired Conesville Power Plant in Ohio earlier than originally planned. An AEP spokesperson in an email to media confirmed the plant’s workers were told October 5 that the plant will close by May 31, 2020. AEP said Units 5 and 6 at the plant, […]

Absaloka mine near Hardin, Mont.

Nation’s Oldest Independent Coal Producer Files Bankruptcy

Colorado-based Westmoreland Coal Co. on October 9 said it had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with the company reporting more than $1.4 billion in debt. The company in its annual financial report in April of this year said it was considering bankruptcy in an effort to protect it from creditors. Westmoreland, which has operated for […]

2017—NRG Energy and JX Nippon’s Petra Nova Carbon Capture Facility  Petra Nova, the  U.S.’s first and world’s largest commercial post-combustion carbon capture system at a power plant, is distinctively both a globally significant environmental breakthrough and a trailblazing revenue-generating facility. Putting this $1 billion project online on time and on budget—despite a chaotic policy climate and other challenges that sank similar projects—was a top priority for its investor-owned owners and project partners.

A List of DOE-Funded Large Coal Demonstrations

Below is a list from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) of all its large-scale coal demonstration projects, starting with the most recent, with a link to each respective project landing page.  In a report prepared for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources that was released on October 1, 2018, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says […]


DOE Sank Billions of Fossil Energy R&D Dollars in CCS Projects. Most Failed.

Nearly half of the $2.66 billion spent by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) since 2010 to develop advanced fossil energy technologies was dedicated to nine carbon capture and storage (CCS) demonstration projects—but only three were active at the end of 2017, and only one was at a power plant. In a report prepared for […]


Enviros Dispute State Findings on Coal Ash Spill

Environmental officials in North Carolina say their tests show that coal ash released from Duke Energy’s Sutton power plant in Wilmington during flooding from Hurricane Florence has not had a negative impact on the Cape Fear River. The state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on October 4 said its test results on water samples collected […]

Levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) map of U.S. counties (green = wind, purple = utility solar photovoltaic, red-orange = natural gas combined cycle). Source: LCOE, The UT Energy Institute:

Natural Gas and Wind Dominate U.S. LCOE Landscape, Interactive Map Shows

Natural gas combined cycle, wind, and residential solar photovoltaic technologies may be the least-expensive way to generate power across a wide swathe of the U.S., an interactive map published and recently updated by the University of Texas (UT) at Austin’s Energy Institute shows.  The interactive chart (Version 1.4.0, retrieved on October 4, 2018), first published […]

Nearly all utility-scale power plants in the U.S. that retired from 2008 through 2017 were fueled by coal, gas, and oil. The Energy Information Administration says that coal plants accounted for 47% of all retired plants since 2008, but it notes that most coal plants retired were “relatively old and small, averaging 52 years and 105 MW, compared with the fleet of coal plants still operating, at 39 years and 319 MW.” It adds: “Other influential factors include changes in regional electricity use, federal or state policies that affect plant operation, and state policies that require or encourage the use of certain fuels such as renewables.” Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860M, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory; POWER

How Did MATS Affect U.S. Coal Generation?

Industry aggressively fought the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) when the Obama administration proposed it in 2011 and finalized it in February 2012, warning it would precipitate the closure of a swathe of coal capacity nationwide. Six years later, the rule appears to have had a sizable impact on the power sector, but not […]

A macro view of coal. Source: Kai Schreiber (Genista)

EPA Advances Proposed Changes to Mercury Rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirmed it has submitted proposed changes to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) to the White House for review, despite urging by the industry to let the rule stand. EPA spokesperson John Konkus told POWERon October 2 that the agency does not intend to withdraw the existing MATS. It […]