Affordable renewable energy has made coal obsolete

Affordable renewable energy has made coal obsolete

The Trump Administration’s plans to scrap and gut regulations that protect our air, water, natural resources, and the health of our families won’t save coal-fired Plant Washington. The project, which at last count still didn’t have any announced Power Purchase Agreements (customers for the power) or financing, still fails the basic test of economics.  It can’t compete with cleaner, cheaper resources, and for that reason alone, won’t get built. 

Across the country, plans for new coal-fired power plants have been shelved in favor of cleaner, more affordable energy alternatives.

As technology continues to improve, renewables become even more reliable. Coal can’t even compete on price, or job creation, with its fossil fuel cousin, natural gas. In January Bloomberg News reported that wind-farm developers and suppliers had more than 100,000 workers, and the solar industry had two times more jobs than wind power.

Executive Orders can’t waive the required process around a formal rule-making, including  adequate public notice, opportunities for citizens to submit comments, and thorough agency study and review.  For regulations tied up with legal challenges,, rolling back  these essential protections for our air and water could take years.

But the Administration’s attempts to gut protections we all depend on for clean air and clean water does nothing to address the regulatory questions that have circled this project for many years. Plant Washington has not commenced construction, and therefore should be subject to any new source requirements. Because the Administration is legally obligated to follow the formal process to replace the old rule with a new one, Plant Washington will probably require new design features—tacking on yet another expense for a project that has no known customers or financing. Coupled with an increase in the cost of materials since the coal-fired power plant was announced, the project, if ever even built, would be well above the initial 2008 cost estimate of $2.1 billion.

FACE and our partners have remained vigilant in our work since the proposal to build Plant Washington was announced in 2008. Yet almost nine years later, this stalled, unnecessary project is no closer to becoming a reality.

You can support our efforts today by sending a tax-deductible donation to FACE, P.O. Box 591, Sandersville, GA 31082, or visit us online and make a secure donation at faceinfo.org/join-face. Help protect the air, water, and health of our community with a donation today.

Katherine Cummings
FACE