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Destructive Restoration – Part 3, Coal

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John Benson's picture
Senior Consultant Microgrid Labs

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Microgrid Labs, Inc. Advisor: 2014 to Present Developed product plans, conceptual and preliminary designs for projects, performed industry surveys and developed...

  • Member since 2013
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  • Dec 15, 2020

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Coal-burning power plants are worst offender when it comes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They also have other emissions that seriously worsen health effects (Sulphur Dioxide, Mercury, and other toxic metals). And then there is the coal ash, which contains contaminants like mercury, cadmium and arsenic. Coal ash is typically stored in ponds, which risk pollution of water tables and can destroy down-stream communities in the event of a dam-break.

Coal plants also are much less cost-effective than gas-fired plants (especially combined-cycle, which are also much cleaner), and many renewables. This is mainly due to the costs for coal-shipping, handling, and processing, and coal-ash storage.

Given the above, it is not surprising that many coal-fired plants are being decommissioned. This post is about the proper process for decommissioning these plants and related facilities.

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 15, 2020

Great breakdown of the physical process-- though it's also important not to forget about what happens in these communities after the plants are taken down. In some cases, coal plants can be the major employer of a town-- so as they get decommissioned hopefully government programs can help retrain and replace at new jobs these people. 

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Dec 19, 2020

Boom. Another one bites the dust.

Goodbye Navajo coal plant.

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