The Sierra Club this week celebrated the promised retirement of more than 100,000 MW of the nation’s coal-fired power assets since 2010.
Calling it “one of the biggest clean energy milestones yet”, the organization’s website extolled the decrease in coal-fired power as sufficient to “prevent 100,792 asthma attacks, 9,420 heart attacks, and 6,097 premature deaths annually”. A supplemental webpage on the Sierra Club site further tracks the retirement of “dirty coal-burning plants”.
According to the organization, the 100,000-MW milestone was surpassed when Houston-based Dynegy announced it will retire 1,877 MW of coal-fired power assets, phasing out Units 1 and 3 at its Baldwin Power Station and Unit 2 at its Newton Power Station, both in Illinois.
The Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign has advocated for a reduction in U.S. coal-fired power assets for more than a decade. In 2010, the campaign shifted its focus from stopping the development of new coal-fired power plants to replacing existing coal-fired plants with renewable resources. Since that time, power producers have committed to take 101,673 MW of coal-fired power offline, including the announced retirements of 232 coal plants and 662 coal-fired units across the country, according to the organization.
About one-third of U.S. electric power continues to be produced using coal-fired generation assets.