Road to Decarbonization: U.S. Coal Plant Closures
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Road to Decarbonization: U.S. Coal Plant Closures

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The following content is sponsored by the National Public Utilities Council

Road to Decarbonization: U.S. Coal Plant Closures

As the push to decarbonize starts to kick into gear in the U.S., how do coal plant closures factor into the equation?

With a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, the U.S. is examining all aspects of its economy to see where action is needed. In the automotive industry, for example, the Biden administration is aiming for half of new vehicles to be electric by 2030, following in the footsteps of automakers that have made similar commitments.

But in the power sector that supplies electricity for much of the country, fossil fuels continue to be large emission sources. Coal, which accounted for just 19% of electricity generated in the U.S. in 2020, created 54% of the power sector’s emissions.

That’s leading to U.S. utilities feeling the pressure to retire coal plants and look for alternatives. This infographic from the National Public Utilities Council visualizes the coal plant closures that have been announced, and how much power will be affected as a result.

Where Are U.S. Coal Plant Closures Happening?

Accurately tracking coal plant closures currently means turning to non-profits and parsing through company reports. To assemble this list, we leveraged the Global Energy Monitor and Carbon Brief and cross-referenced against company sustainability reports and news releases.

The result? 80 coal plants with a total capacity of 98.3 GW publicly scheduled for full retirement over the next three decades.

PlantStateRetirement DateCapacity (MW)
BurlingtonIA2021212
Dolet HillsLA2021721
AES HawaiiHI2022204
Coal CreekND20221,210
E.D. EdwardsIL2022645
EdgewaterWI2022414
Fayette* (announced not confirmed)TX20221,690
HeskettND2022115
JoppaIL20221,100
MeramecMO2022924
San JuanNM2022924
St. ClairMI20221,210
Taconite HarborMN2022168
Trenton ChannelMI2022536
A.B. BrownIN2023530
Big BendFL20231,824
Bull RunTN2023950
ChesterfieldVA20231,053
KarnMI2023516
LawrenceKS2023517
Martin DrakeCO2023207
MeromIN20231,080
North OmahaNE2023354
North ValmyNV2023567
SchahferIN20231,944
ColumbiaWI20241,112
G.G. AllenNC20241,155
South Oak CreekWI20241,240
BaldwinIL20251,260
Brunner IslandPA20251,558
CentraliaWA20251,460
ChollaAZ2025840
CloverVA2025848
Herbert WagnerMD2025495
IntermountainUT20251,640
NauhgtonWY2025448
Prairie CreekIA202550
NortheasternOK2026473
AES Puerto RicoPR2027510
ColstripMT20272,272
KincaidIL20271,319
Miami FortOH20271,115
MorgantownMD20271,252
NewtonIL20271,235
Victor J. DanielMS20271,097
WinyahSC20271,260
ZimmerOH20271,426
Allen S. KingMN2028598
CayugaIN20281,062
CraigCO20281,427
HaydenCO2028466
Michigan CityIN2028540
PawneeCO2028552
RockportIN20282,600
SiouxMO20281,099
White BluffAR20281,800
Belle RiverMI20301,396
BonanzaUT2030500
IndependenceAR20301,800
Ray NixonCO2030207
Sherburne CountyMN20302,469
Four CornersNM20311,636
CumberlandTN20352,600
GallatinTN20351,255
KingstonTN20351,700
MarshallNC20351,996
ShawneeTN20351,750
Jim BridgerWY20372,441
GibsonIN20383,340
Belews CreekNC20392,160
IatanMO20391,725
JeffreyKS20392,160
La CygneKS20391,599
Rush IslandMO20391,242
ComancheCO20401,636
J. H. CampbellMI20401,540
MonroeMI20403,280
LadabieMO20422,389
PetersburgIN20422,147
James E. RogersNC20491,481

Noticeably, most of the coal plant closures are targeted in the Midwest (which uses the most coal for power). And most of the retirements are coming early, with the 2020s seeing more than half of announced closures and retired capacity (53.6 GW).

But the largest coal plants with announced retirement dates are currently scheduled for the 2030s and 2040s. That includes Duke Energy’s Gibson power plant in Indiana, the fifth largest coal plant in the U.S. and the largest with a retirement date.

What’s Next for U.S. Decarbonization?

Though it seems like the U.S. has a lot of coal plant closures announced, there’s a lot left to go.

The 98.3 GW of tracked coal plant closures is just 45% of U.S. coal electricity production in 2020. Though many utilities have talked about eventually assessing and planning retirements for some of the remaining 55%, no concrete plans have been announced yet.

“In our industry, deciding to exit coal-fired power is not taken lightly,” said Omaya Ahmad, Sustainability Policy Consultant at Arizona Public Service. “Our coal plants are often the oldest in our fleet and are largely the reason our service territories have grown and flourished into what they are today. However, the pressures presented by climate change and the economic demands tied to coal have required a commitment to transition to clean energy.”

Coal Plant Closures Are Part of a Larger Equation

But as Ahmad explains, turning off coal plants is not such a quick-and-easy fix.

“Such a transition will be a lofty undertaking and will not come without its own challenges,” said Ahmad. “Recognizing the regional transition landscape and timeline depicted on a map like this one will help utilities adequately prepare for and support their coal communities as we all take steps to reach a clean energy economy.”

And coal plants are just one part of the decarbonization equation. Some utilities are opting to transform coal power plants into natural gas plants, which are more cost-efficient and emit less than coal. Even though many utilities and consumers are turning away from carbon emitting fuel sources entirely, there are more than 200 new natural gas plants planned in the U.S.

But the big question is how the generated electricity from coal will be replaced. Communities that rely on coal for power (and economic strength) will have to turn to natural gas or work on renewables capacity, while others have already started the transition.

National Public Utilities Council is the go-to resource for all things decarbonization in the utilities industry. Learn more.

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Value in the Ground: Cartier Resources’ Chimo Mine Project

Cartier Resources (TSX-V: ECR) is advancing the Chimo Mine Gold Project in the Abitibi region of Quebec, showing its potential with past producing mines.

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Value in the Ground: Cartier Resources’ Chimo Mine Project

The sponsor of this graphic, Cartier Resources (TSX-V: ECR), has instigated an exploration strategy to increase ounces in the ground at the historic Chimo Mine in the heart of the Abitibi that continues to deliver increasing resources.

Cartier is deploying the strategy in the right region, with the right backers to find gold faster at a lower cost. This graphic provides an overview of the project’s massive potential.

Proven Endowment: The Abitibi Greenstone Belt

There are many prolific past-producing gold districts in Canada, but the Abitibi is one of the largest and well understood gold-bearing regions with readily available exploration infrastructure.

This region extends from Wawa in Northwestern Ontario to the East near Val-d’Or, Québec—a landscape that hosts some of the most productive gold mines in Canada.

Cartier’s Chimo Mine project located in the historic Abitibi Greenstone belt of Québec builds on a legacy of gold production with a project ready for investors.

Tried and Tested Exploration Strategy

The best place to find gold is where companies discovered and mined it before. Between 1964 and 1997, three companies produced 379,012 ounces of gold at the Chimo Mine.

This type of strategy is known as brownfield exploration. Brownfield exploration looks for gold in areas known to host gold mineralization. It offers investors less risk, reducing the amount of uncertainties a company faces.

Ounces in the Ground: Growing a Gold Resource

Cartier delivered its first-ever resource estimate within three years and proved the value at Chimo. In November 2019, the company published its first mineral resource estimate of the central gold corridor on the Chimo Mine property.

It reported Indicated resources of 481,280 ounces of gold and Inferred resources of 417,250 ounces of gold. This resource estimate came from only one-third of the property.

This was just the beginning for Cartier Resources and the Chimo Mine.

In 2021, Cartier upgraded its resource estimate with drilling from its North and South corridor. The company increased the indicated resources to 684,000 oz Au (6,616,000 tonnes at 3.21 g/t Au) and the inferred resources to 1,358,000 oz Au (15,240,000 tonnes at 2.77 g/t). This gives the property over 2 million ounces of gold in the heart of the Abitibi.

Why Invest in Chimo?

Cartier Resources has consistently applied an exploration strategy to develop and increase the known gold resources at the Chimo gold mine.

It built on the foundations of a proven past producer and continued exploration success to discover more gold. In the heart of a safe and established mining jurisdiction, Cartier has put the Chimo Mine back on the Abitibi gold map.

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Visualizing the Rise of Cryptocurrency Transactions

As cryptocurrency transactions rise, merchants are looking to position themselves to take advantage of this new wave of crypto spenders.

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daily crypto transactions

Visualizing the Rise of Cryptocurrency Transactions

After Bitcoin and cryptocurrency’s wild bull run in late 2020 and early 2021, many holders are now using cryptocurrencies for their intended purpose: payments.

Every day, approximately $12 billion are transferred across the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin blockchains, with millions of people using cryptocurrency for payments daily.

This graphic sponsored by CoinPayments looks at the rising transactions of the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin networks.

Cryptocurrency Transactions are Rising in Value and Number

While prices are often the focus when crypto is in the spotlight, transaction counts show how much a network is being used as a medium of exchange. In just over five years, daily transactions across the Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Litecoin networks increased sixfold, from just 250,000 to more than 1.5 million transactions a day.

In mid-2017, Ethereum overtook Bitcoin in daily transactions as ETH was necessary to participate in ICOs (initial coin offerings), which fueled much of the speculation in the 2017 price run. With Ethereum still hosting thousands of ERC-20 and ERC-721 tokens on its blockchain today, its transaction counts have grown to be much higher compared to Bitcoin and Litecoin’s.

Along with crypto’s rising transaction numbers, the average USD value per transaction has increased by a minimum of 4x over the past five years.

YearAverage Value per Bitcoin TransactionAverage Value per Ethereum TransactionAverage Value per Litecoin Transaction
2016$2,426$588$1,357
2021$32,943$19,139$5,458

Source: Coin Metric
2021 figures as of July 13th, 2021

Crypto Spenders are Searching for Merchants

As transaction counts and values rise, merchants play a vital part in pushing forward the adoption of digital currencies for payments.

Many cryptocurrency users consider merchant adoption as a key barometer of success for crypto adoption. While companies like AT&T, Namecheap, and Overstock already accept crypto payments, there are still many businesses around the world which don’t offer cryptocurrency as a method of payment.

In a survey of over 8,000 U.S. consumers, 66.7% of crypto owners and 54.2% of non-owners said that not enough merchants accept cryptocurrency. Along with this, 47% of crypto owners said they seek out merchants that accept crypto for purchases, indicating clear demand for more crypto-accepting businesses.

How Can Merchants Make the Most of the Crypto Boom?

As the world embraces crypto, merchants need the in-store and online tools to be part of this next wave of commerce. Accepting crypto opens merchants up to an untapped audience of new consumers, eager to spend their crypto.

CoinPayments makes it easy to start accepting crypto payments at online checkout and with POS systems, with features like auto-coin conversion and over 2,000 coins supported.

Find out more about how the crypto market is growing, adapting to consumer needs, and the opportunity it presents to merchants around the world.

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