U.S. planned utility-scale electric-generating capacity retirements (2023)

Data source: EIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, December 2022

Operators plan to retire 15.6 GW of electric-generating capacity in the United States during 2023, mostly natural gas-fired (6.2 GW) and coal-fired (8.9 GW) power plants, according to the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration (EIA).

EIA said that substantial U.S. coal-fired capacity has retired over the past decade, and a record 14.9 GW was retired in 2015.

Annual coal retirements averaged 11.0 GW a year from 2015 to 2020, fell to 5.6 GW in 2021, and then rose to 11.5 GW in 2022.

In 2023, power plant owners and operators plan to retire 8.9 GW of coal-fired capacity, around 4.5% of the total coal-fired capacity at the start of the year.

Most coal-fired power plants currently operating were built in the 1970s and 1980s. As these plants compete with a growing number of natural gas-fired plants and low-cost renewables, more coal-fired units are being retired.

EIA said the largest coal-fired power plant expected to retire this year is the 1,490 MW W.H. Sammis Power Plant in Ohio. The oldest four of the plant’s seven coal-fired units were retired in 2020; the last three units are slated to shut down this year, along with the plant’s five petroleum-fired units (13 MW of combined capacity).

Pleasants Power Station (1,278 MW) is the second-largest coal-fired power plant retirement expected this year. Energy Harbor, which plans to become a carbon-free electricity supplier by the end of this year, owns both W.H. Sammis and Pleasants.

In addition, some 6.2 GW of natural gas-fired capacity is slated to retire, roughly 1.3% of the operating natural gas fleet as of January. Most of that retiring capacity is made up of older steam and combustion turbine units.

Three aging natural gas-fired plants in California (Alamitos, Huntington Beach, and Redondo Beach), with a combined 2.2 GW of capacity, are scheduled to retire. These plants were originally slated to retire in 2020 but were granted a three-year extension to maintain grid reliability.

Planned U.S. utility-scale electric generator retirements, 2023

Data sourceEIA, Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, December 2022

Petroleum-fired power plants make up a small portion of generating capacity at around 2.2%. Most of these plants are seldom run and serve as peaker plants. This year, around 0.4 GW of petroleum-fired capacity is scheduled to retire.

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