Slow pace of plant replacement could take 70 years

The aging baseload fleet of power plants in the U.S. will not be completely replaced with new or modernized nuclear, coal and combined-cycle plants for 70 years or longer, according to a report by a new industry association.

The report, “States’ Best Practices Attracting Baseload Investment,” prepared by Build Energy America, said some regions of the country have stopped modernizing their baseload fleet. In the coming years, the need to retire older nuclear and coal plants will grow but it will be impractical unless the pace of power plant construction increases, the report said.

Baseload power plants produce about 80 percent of the nation's electricity. No plants are under construction or have been completed since 2009 in most of New England, the mid-Atlantic, upper Midwest and Pacific Northwest. More than 20 states are not modernizing their baseload capacity because of uncertainty over federal regulations. The report said that the 15 states that are attracting investments use a balanced regulatory culture that is timely andfact-based and can be implemented in any state.

Build Energy America started operations in January and at present has no official members, its president, Steve Mitnick, said.

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