A little more than a decade ago, coal-fired power plants produced more than half of the electricity in the U.S. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, in 2017 that number fell to about 30 percent. That decrease is attributed to many older and smaller plants ceasing operations because of inefficiencies.
“Economics now seem to be driving decisions about whether to retire coal-fired power plants,” says Jeff Pope, manager of facility decommissioning and demolition services at Burns & McDonnell. “However, long-term safety and environmental factors are driving how to go about it — retiring in place or tearing it down.”
The Key to Decommissioning Is to Plan
Looking ahead to power plant retirement
When the time comes to plan for retirement, there are resources available to help make a smooth transition. By closely managing details ahead of time, it’s easier to plan the optimal date to stop working and establish a transition plan for someone to carry on the work. For the life cycle of its business, an electric utility similarly must plan ahead, determining when and how to retire its fossil fuel plants.