Here’s a headline recently: Alliant, Duke announce generator shutdowns, accelerating nation’s transition to coal-free status.

Announcements about coal being closed are not unique, but these announcements seem to make the move away from coal faster. Alliant will close both units of its Columbia, Wisconsin, plant. Unit 1 retires by year- 2023, unit 2, year-end 2024. Previously the company announced it would retire the last coal unit of its Edgewater plant by the end of 2022. Alliant’s Clean Energy Plan is here. (Our feature image is Alliant’s Columbia, Wisc., plant.)

In the Carolinas, Duke Energy will close its Allen Unit 3 by March 31. The Allen plant has five units in its plant and will fully retire by 2024.

These closures are in the blink of an eye in energy industry terms.

From the Duke Energy website: Located in Gaston County, N.C., Allen Steam Station is a five-unit coal-fired generating facility. Units 1 and 2 began operating in 1957; unit 3 in 1959; unit 4 in 1960 and unit 5 in 1961. Named for George Garland Allen, a former president and first chairman of the board for Duke Power, the Allen facility is the only Duke Energy station with five units under one roof.

Allen is snug up to the Mecklenburg County line.

Closing coal plants is part of utilities’ overall carbon cut plans. Here’ how that fits in Duke Energy’s plans. Our carbon reduction plan includes:

  • Doubling our portfolio of solar, wind and other renewables by 2025
  • Continuing to deploy low-cost natural gas to speed the transition from coal, while maintaining reliability
  • Expanding energy storage, energy efficiency and electric vehicle infrastructure
  • Continuing to operate existing carbon-free technologies, including nuclear and renewables

As more coal closures are announced, and their closing accelerates, the more pressure there will be for other utilities to pick up their pace on eliminating coals as a power generation source.