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Posted Wed Jun 22 2011: from ClimateProgress:
Another U.S. Coal Plant to Shutter. Will Renewables and Efficiency Fill the Gap?
A municipal utility in Texas said this week that it plans to shut down an 871-MW coal plant within the next 7 years to avoid spending $3 billion for pollution controls. The Deely plant, operated by CPS Energy, has been running for more than 30 years - making it a candidate for environmental upgrades to comply with pending federal standards for mercury and air toxics. Rather than invest in a new coal plant, however, the company plans on making up for the production loss by investing in 780 MW of energy efficiency capacity and 1,500 MW of renewable energy, including 44 MW of contracts from solar PV plants. Sierra Club issued a statement this week celebrating the planned closure, saying that solar "will replace that dirty electricity and bring clean energy jobs to Texas."... What will fill in the gap? The contracts from CPS Energy are likely a good indicator of how that gap will be filled: Some efficiency, a mix of renewables, a good amount of natural gas, and, potentially, some cleaner coal electricity from new plants (if they get built.) According to data from the solar industry, the dropping costs of solar PV make the resource competitive with new coal plants that will be built over the next 8 years. These are solar PV plants in areas with high solar resources, not everywhere in the country. If that's the case, solar and other renewables will likely make up a larger portion of new contracts.
[Read more stories about: coal issues, alternative energy, efficiency increase, ocean acidification]

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Seven years? No problem. We can wait.

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