EIA report says 9.1GW of electric generating capacity will be retired in 2021

Published on January 14, 2021 by Dave Kovaleski

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A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says 9.1 gigawatts (GW) of electric generating capacity is scheduled to retire in 2021.

Among the retirements, nuclear generating capacity will account for 56 percent of the retirements, while coal will account for 30 percent of the retirements.

Specifically, 5.1 GW of nuclear capacity will be retired this year, representing 5 percent of the current operating U.S. nuclear generating capacity. Among those nuclear plants that will be retired are Exelon Corp.’s Dresden and Byron plants in Illinois and the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York state. If all five reactors close as scheduled, 2021 will set a record for the most annual nuclear capacity retirements ever. EIA officials said nuclear power generating capacity gas dropped due to lower natural gas prices, limited electricity demand growth, and increasing competition from renewable energy.

Also, 2.7 GW of coal plants will retire in 2021, which accounts for 1 percent of the U.S. coal fleet. These retirements will come primarily from older units, with two-thirds located in four states: Maryland, Florida, Connecticut, and Wisconsin. The largest coal retirements in 2021 will be at Chalk Point in Maryland, Big Bend in Florida, Bridgeport Station in Connecticut, and Genoa in Wisconsin.

Further, 800 MW of petroleum-fired capacity and 253 MW of natural gas-fired capacity are scheduled to retire in 2021. Most of the retiring petroleum capacity will be from the 786 MW unit at Possum Point in Virginia. The largest natural gas retirement will be McKee Run (103 MW) in Delaware.