US coal plants under construction

Some energy sources are built with big public attention (nuclear and solar come to mind), while others appear to be ignored. With all those coal power plants stopped in Texas and elsewhere, how many coal power plants are being built?

From Reuters, the US is building 7.6 gigawatts (GW) in coal power plants, about 7.5 of today’s nuclear power plants, about 5 of the new ones.

Location Size (MW) Completion
Arkansas 665 2010
Colorado 750 2009
Iowa 790 2007
Nebraska 660 2009
Nevada 200 2008
S. Carolina 640 (2) 2007, 2009
Texas 600, 750 2009, 2010
Wisconsin 600 (2), 500 2009, 2010, 2008
Wyoming 90 2008

Near construction are 400 MW in Arizona, 30 MW in Colorado, 1,500 MW in Illinois, 2,100 MW in Kansas, 600 MW in Ohio, 950 MW in Oklahoma, and 660 MW in W. Virginia. About 140 plants are in the permitting process.

Coal plant near Omaha
Coal plant near Omaha

From the Washington Post

From the top of a new coal-fired power plant with its 550-foot exhaust stack poking up from the flat western Iowa landscape, MidAmerican Energy Holdings chief executive David L. Sokol peered down at a train looping around a sizable mound of coal.

At this bend in the Missouri River, with Omaha visible in the distance, the new MidAmerican plant is the leading edge of what many people are calling the “coal rush.” Due to start up this spring, it will probably be the next coal-fired generating station to come online in the United States. A dozen more are under construction, and about 40 others are likely to start up within five years — the biggest wave of coal plant construction since the 1970s.

The coal rush in America’s heartland is on a collision course with Congress. While lawmakers are drawing up ways to cap and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, the Energy Department says as many as 150 new coal-fired plants could be built by 2030, adding volumes to the nation’s emissions of carbon dioxide, the most prevalent of half a dozen greenhouse gases scientists blame for global warming….

Sokol says that until new technologies become commercial or nuclear power becomes more accepted, coal is the way to meet that demand.

7 Responses to “US coal plants under construction”

  1. Coal’s day is past.

  2. Karen Street says:

    Apparently not! Unfortunately not.

  3. A couple of years ago the utilities wanted 16 new coal fired power plants in Texas. At last count that has been cut back to 3. It is a long shot that any of them will be built. Senator Harry Reid suggested Nevada follow the example of Colorado, Florida, Kansas, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Washington where regulators, public officials or utility executives postponed, curtailed or canceled coal plants. In the Texas and the South East, power company plans are rapidly shifting from coal to nuclear power. Most of the 30 nuks that are going to the NRC in the next couple of years are from the region. There will be substantial public opposition no any attempt to license a coal fired plant, and if the license passes, selling the bonds may be difficult, as coal’s future grows more uncertain.

  4. Buddy Noober says:

    Coal is still the only way to get a plant built in the U.S. because it’s nearly impossible to build a nuclear plant with all the government and EPA restrictions. Other countries are building nuclear plants, and we are shooting ourselves in the foot because our government caters to environmentalist. Reminds me of what Ronald Reagan once said… “All the waste in a year from a Nuclear Power Plant can be stored under a desk.”

  5. Affordable electricity is an essential part of protecting consumers and American businesses. During the America’s Power Factuality Tour, our team traveled all over the country to document the places, people and technologies involved in producing cleaner electricity from domestic coal. Our travels brought us to Council Bluffs, Iowa, home of the Walter Scott Energy Center – one of the most efficient coal-based plants in America. This facility generates more than 1,600 megawatts of affordable electricity, which has a positive long-term economic impact on the region—one that includes a Google data facility.

    Take a look at the plant in action and meet the people who keep it running:

  6. What are the possibilities of a coal fire plant to be constructed in Matagorda County? Issues that I see is the Colorado River tributary where run-off in to the Colorado River will be concern for the environmental people. Its going to cost millions to shore up the levees and cost the state time and money before this even gets a permit. What do you know about this?

  7. Karen Street says:

    I know nothing about specific coal plants. Here in CA, we won’t be building any, but elsewhere? Does anyone else know?