Coal Moratorium NOW!  [Printer-friendly version]
January 17, 2008


Progress Towards a Coal Moratorium

SAN FRANCISCO -- Fifty-nine proposed coal-fired power plants were
cancelled or shelved during 2007, according to research compiled by
Coal Moratorium NOW! and Rainforest Action Network. Both groups
are calling for a moratorium on the construction of new coal-fired
power plants.

The list, including documentation, is posted online at "Coal Plants
Cancelled in 2007." It includes data supplied by Sierra Club,
coalSwarm, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Energy
Technology Lab, and utility industry sources

Ted Nace, founder of Coal Moratorium NOW! said, "Although we knew
that many plants were being nixed, we were stunned by the total
number. It spells real hope for the movement seeking to blunt the coal

Because coal is the largest contributor to the human-made increase in
carbon dioxide, coal plants are at the top of the list of global
warming threats cited by climate scientists. Dr. James Hansen,
director of NASA's Goddard Space Center, the world's largest climate
research agency, told Congress on April 26, 2007, that a moratorium on
new coal plants is "the most critical action for saving the planet at
this time."

"Coal-fired power plants are the wrong investment for our climate, our
health, and our economy," said Becky Tarbotton, director of Rainforest
Action Network's Global Finance Campaign. "Utilities, regulators, and
investors are realizing that the path ahead is energy efficiency and
renewable energy. It's time to stop financing and building coal and
fund the future."

Among the study's conclusions:

** Climate concerns played a role in at least 15 plant cancellations.
These included five plants in Florida, where Gov. Charlie Crist has
made global warming a top issue; a three-unit plant in Kansas opposed
by Gov. Kathleen Sibelius; and several plants affected by strict new
carbon regulations in western states.

** Coal plants disappeared entirely from some utilities' long-range
plans: Increasingly, coal plants were cancelled before they could even
be named, due to increasing regulatory scrutiny of long-range
integrated resource plans by states such as Oregon and California.

** Renewables began elbowing out coal: Regulators in several states
favored utility-scale renewables over coal. In Delaware, regulators
cancelled a coal power plant proposed by NRG Energy in favor of an
alternative proposal that combined wind and natural gas. In
California, the combination of a strict carbon emissions standard and
a renewable portfolio standard prompted utilities to enter into
contracts for large thermal solar projects sponsored by Ausra,
BrightSource, and Solel.

** Grassroots opposition mounted, financial markets cooled to coal:
After a spate of enthusiasm in 2006, coal plant financiers in 2007
recoiled from escalating construction costs; litigation by
environmental groups; and public opposition to coal expressed through
rallies, sit- ins, petitions, and local referenda in Texas, Maine,
Montana, Utah, Iowa, Minnesota, Virginia, and elsewhere. As sponsors
ran into difficulty raising funds, numerous projects were quietly

** More plants were abandoned than rejected: Of the 59 cancelled or
sidetracked projects, only 15 were rejected outright by regulators,
courts, or local authorities. In the remaining 44 cases, the decision
was made by the sponsors themselves. Besides climate concerns, leading
reasons for abandoning plants include (1) rapidly rising construction
costs, (2) insufficient financing or failure to receive hoped-for
government subsidies, and (3) lowered estimates of demand.

** Heavy spending but poor results for "clean coal": Despite a multi-
million dollar advertising campaign by the coal industry in support of
its "clean coal" message, the public was unconvinced. An October poll
by Opinion Research Corporation showed that 75 percent of American
adults would support a five-year moratorium on new coal plants if
funding for renewable alternatives was increased and efficiency
standards were tightened.

Background on the Coal Boom

After mainly building natural gas turbines during the 1980s and 1990s,
utilities returned to coal when natural gas prices jumped in 2000. In
May 2007, the Department of Energy's "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power
Plants" (5/07) study counted 151 proposed coal plants. Five months
later, "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" (10/07) counted 121
proposed plants. According to a survey completed in the first week of
January 2008 by Coal Moratorium NOW!, the number of proposed plants
(including those under construction or recently completed) now stands
at 113. Details on Coal Moratorium NOW!'s study may be seen at the
following links:

** Coal Plants Cancelled in 2007

** Proposed Coal Plants: state-by-state descriptions

** Proposed Coal Plants: spreadsheet

** Table of Proposed Coal Plants by Expected Year of Completion

** Table of Proposed Coal Plants by Type of Utility

** Table of Proposed Coal Plants by Region


Coal Moratorium NOW! tracks the coal boom and advocates for a
moratorium on new coal plants. Together with the Center for Media and
Democracy, Coal Moratorium NOW! also co-sponsors,
a coal-oriented wiki. Contact: or Ted Nace at

Rainforest Action Network ( runs hard-
hitting campaigns to break America's oil addiction, reduce our
reliance on coal, protect endangered forests and indigenous rights,
and stop destructive investments around the world through education,
grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action.

Links Included in this Press Release

** "Coal Plants Cancelled in 2007"

** Opinion Research Corporation poll

** "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" (5/07)

** "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" (10/07):

** Proposed Coal-Fired Plants: state-by-state descriptions

** Proposed Coal-Fired Plants: spreadsheet

** Table of Proposed Coal Plants by Year of Completion

** Table of Proposed Coal Plants by Type of Utility

** Table of Proposed Coal Plants by Region

** List of Proposed Coal Plants, Placed on Hold, or Abandoned in 2007
(full list with details available here).

1. Indeck Energy Services declines to renew the option for the
property the company intended to use for the 660 MW Elmwood Energy
Center in Elmwood, Illinois, indicating that it did not intend to
pursue the project further. In September 2006, the U.S. EPA's
Environmental Appeals Board had overturned the air permit, finding
that it lacked emissions control requirements and environmental impact
assessments. December 2007.

2. With no air permit applications on file and no development partner,
it appears that Radar Acquisitions Company's Buick Coal and Power
Project is now defunct. December 2007.

3. Rentech puts coal-to-liquids plant slated for East Dubuque,
Illinois on indefinite hold, citing "pressure" put on the project by a
lack of national CO2 policy. December 2007.

4. Alcoa scraps plan to build a 950 MW coal plant at the site of a
shuttered aluminum smelter in Frederick County, Maryland. December

5. Idaho Power and PacifiCorp abandon plans for a 600 MW expansion of
the Wyoming Jim Bridger Station, a power plant jointly owned by the
two companies. A spokesman for PacifiCorp cites the uncertainty around
coal, and states the company is looking at natural gas and wind power
projects instead. December 2007.

6. Steelhead Energy's 545 MW IGCC proposal, the Southern Illinois
Clean Energy Center, is declared inactive by the EPA. December 2007.

7. Mountain Island Energy abandons plans for a 600 MW coal plant in
Soda Springs, Idaho, which had been announced in January 2007.
December 2007.

8. PacifiCorp and the state of Wyoming cancel their jointly sponsored
IGCC and coal sequestration demonstration project at the Jim Bridger
Station, which had been scheduled for operation in 2013. December

9. PacifiCorp scraps plans for a 950 MW expansion of the Intermountain
Power coal plant in Utah. The cancellation comes after six California
cities that rely on the plant refused to support the expansion in July
2007; two other cities refused power contracts with the plant earlier
in the year. December 2007.

10. Following the denial of permits for Sunflower's Holcomb plants,
the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities abandons plans to build a
235 MW coal plant at Nearman Creek in Wyandotte County. December 2007.

11. Having announced that it was placing siting plans for a new 600 MW
coal plant on hold due to rapidly escalating costs, Westar Energy,
Kansas's largest utility, pursues regulatory approval for 295 MW of
new wind capacity. December 2007.

12. Two months after breaking ground, Orlando Utilities Commission and
Southern Company shelve plans for 285 MW Stanton Energy Center, an
IGCC plant in Orange County, citing concerns about future carbon
controls in Florida. November 2007.

13. Energy Northwest's application for the 793 MW Pacific Mountain
Energy Center in Kalama, Washington, is suspended by state regulators
because of insufficient plans for carbon sequestration. November 2007.

14. Voters in Wiscasset, Maine, defeat two ballot measures that would
have allowed a variance from local height limits, effectively blocking
Point East from pursuing its proposed 700 MW coal plant, Twin River
Energy Center. November 2007.

15. Matanuska Electric Association cancels plans to build a 100 MW
coal plant in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough of Alaska. Local
opposition by elected officials and increased costs are cited as
reasons. November 2007.

16. Idaho Power Company cancels plans to produce 250 MW from coal-
fired plants by 2013. Instead, the company adopts new plans to add 101
MW of wind power and 45.5 MW of geothermal power by 2011, and to
develop a natural gas turbine in Idaho by 2012. November 2007.

17. Sunflower Electric Power Cooperative's proposal for the 1400 MW
Holcomb Units 1 and 2 is denied an air permit by the Kansas Department
of Health and Environment (KDHE) due to concerns about global warming.
The Director of KDHE states that it would be "irresponsible" to ignore
global warming concerns when evaluating whether to build a new plant.
October 2007. (A month earlier, in September, Sunflower Electric Power
Cooperative proposal for the 700 MW Holcomb Unit 3 was cancelled after
Colorado adopted a law requiring that rural electric cooperatives get
10 percent of their power from renewable resources.)

18. Madison Power's 600 MW Marion Gasification Plant (IGCC) plant in
Marion, Illinois has been placed on hold due to construction of a
nearby supercritical coal plant which has hindered power demand and
tied up transmission and coal transport infrastructure. October 2007.

19. NRG's Huntley Generating Station (680 MW IGCC) "on hold" because
it "must find cost reductions to maintain state-awarded financial
support." October 2007.

20. Buffalo Energy Partners IGCC plant in Wyoming has been cancelled
due to transmision constraints, rising construction costs, limited
available technology guarantees and an unsuccessful bid for funding.
October 2007.

21. Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy shelves plans for a 600 M IGCC plant
in Colorado for at least two years, citing rising construction costs
and slowing demand. October 2007.

22. Tampa Electric suspends 630 MW expansion at its Polk Power
Station. The decision is influenced by Florida Governor Charlie
Crist's push to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. October 2007.

23. Dynegy and LS Power cancel a proposed 500 MW coal plant in West
Deptford, New Jersey, proposing instead a natural gas plant. October

24. Rochester Gas and Electric, a subsidiary of Energy East, changes
plans for the proposed 300 MW Russell Station II plant from coal to
natural gas. The decision is based partly on public opposition to
coal. September 2007.

25. Westmoreland and Montana Dakota Utilities fail to begin
construction of the North Dakota Gascoyne 175 MW power plant or
request an extension of the air permit. As a result, the air permit is
rendered invalid and the company must go through the air permitting
process again if it intends to construct the plant. September 2007.

26. Montana regulators revoke the air permit for Bull Mountain
Development's 300 MW Roundup Power Project. September 2007.

27. American Electric Power and Oklahoma Gas & Electric's 950 MW Red
Rock Generating Station is rejected by the Oklahoma Corporation
Commission for failure to evaluate alternatives such as natural gas.
September 2007.

28. Avista Utilities (Washington) completes its 2007 Integrated
Resource Plan, eliminating at least one coal plant from its resource
strategy. The company cites Washington state law prohibiting new coal
plants whose emissions would exceed those of a natural gas plant.
September 2007.

29. Southwestern Power Group cancels its proposed 600 MW IGCC Bowie
Power Station in Arizona in favor of pursuing a natural gas fired
plant. The company cites economics and regulatory uncertainty.
September 2007.

30. Franklin Circuit Court reverses the air permit for Peabody Coal
Company's 1500 MW Thoroughbred Generating Station in Kentucky due to
inadequate air pollution control analysis. August 2007.

31. Florida's Department of Environmental Protection rejects the
Seminole Electric Power Cooperative's 750 MW Seminole 3 Generating
Station on the grounds that the plant would not minimize environmental
and public health impacts, and would not serve the public interest.
August 2007.

32. Great Northern Power hasn't submitted an air permit application
for its proposed 500 MW Nelson Creek coal plant in Circle, Montana. A
GNP lobbyist testifies in a state legislative session that the company
is no longer pursuing the project. August 2007.

33. Great Northern Power withdraws its air permit application for the
500 MW South Heart Power Project in North Dakota. August 2007.

34. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission decides that Excelsior
Energy's 600 MW Mesaba IGCC plant "is not in the public interest."
August 2007.

35. Florida Municipal Power Agency withdraws its state permit
application for the 800 MW Taylor Energy Center shortly after the
Florida Public Service Commission rejects the Glades Power Plant. July

36. The Florida Public Service Commission rejects the permit
application of Florida Power & Light's 1960 MW Glades Power Plant
citing, in part, uncertainty over the cost of future carbon
regulations. July 2007.

37. Tenaska cancels its 660-880 MW Sallisaw Electric Generating Plant
in Oklahoma on the grounds that it is not economically viable. July

38. The Sierra Club reports that LS Power and Dynegy have quietly
abandoned plans for a 1600 MW coal plant in Sussex County, Virginia.
The companies no longer list the plant on their websites. July 2007.

39. Tondu Corp abandons plans for the Nueces IGCC plant in Corpus
Christi, Texas, citing rising costs and uncertain construction
schedules for IGCC. The company plans to build a gas plant instead.
June 2007.

40. The Delaware Public Service Commission rejects NRG Energy's
proposal for a 600 MW coal plant at its existing Indian River Power
Plant in favor of an alternative wind/gas proposal. May 2007.

41. Wisconsin Public Power Inc. and the city of Escanaba, Michigan,
cancel plans to build a 300 MW coal plant in Escanaba. May 2007.

42. Corn Belt Energy Corporation abandons plans to build a 91 MW coal
plant in Illinois. The plant would have been financed by a grant from
the United States Department of Energy. March 2007.

43-50. As part of a buyout of Texas utility TXU by private equity
firms, TXU enters abandons plans for eight out of eleven proposed
plants in the state. February 2007.

51. The North Carolina Utilities Commission rejects one of the two 800
MW units at Duke Energy's Cliffside Steam Station Modernization
proposal, citing increased construction costs. Opponents continue to
fight the second unit. February 2007.

52. The Oregon Public Utility Commission rules that PacifiCorp had
failed to prove a need for Hunter Unit 4, a proposed 575 MW coal plant
in Castle Dale, Utah. January 2007.

53. After being on hold for over two years due to siting issues, it
appears that the 100 MW Bethel Power Plant proposed by Nuvista Light
and Power has now been abandoned. 2007.

54. Xcel Energy abandons plans to build a 550 MW coal plant near
Rosemount, Minnesota. 2007.

55. Having lost its partner on the project (Foster-Wheeler, which was
delisted from the New York Stock Exchange), it appears that Colorado
Springs Utilities has abandoned its 150 MW Ray D. Nixon Power Plant
proposal. 2007.

56. Clean Coal Power Resources has not posted any new information on
its company website for several years, and it appears that the company
has abandoned Fayette County Economic Development Project, a synthetic
fuels project in Illinois. 2007.

57. The EPA's coal plant tracking website reports that Dynegy's
proposed 1300 MW Baldwin Energy Complex in Baldwin, Illinois, which
was listed in the May 2007 Department of Energy "Tracking New Coal-
Fired Power Plants" survey, has been abandoned. 2007.

58. Illinois Energy Group's 1500 MW project in Franklin County,
Illinois, which was included in the Department of Energy's May, 2007,
"Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants" survey, has been abandoned.

59. Turris Coal Company appears to have abandoned a 25-35 MW coal
plant proposal in Elkhart, Illinois. The plant had been listed in the
Department of Energy's May, 2007, "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power
Plants" survey. 2007.

For complete list, with documentation, see: "Coal Plants Cancelled in