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Title: Power Plant Retirements: Trends and Possible Drivers

Abstract

This paper synthesizes available data on historical and planned power plant retirements. Specifically, we present data on historical generation capacity additions and retirements over time, and the types of plants recently retired and planned for retirement. We then present data on the age of plants that have recently retired or that have plans to retire. We also review the characteristics of plants that recently retired or plan to retire vs. those that continue to operate, focusing on plant size, age, heat rate, and SO 2 emissions. Finally, we show the level of recent thermal plant retirements on a regional basis and correlate those data with a subset of possible factors that may be contributing to retirement decisions. This basic data synthesis cannot be used to precisely estimate the relative magnitude of retirement drivers. Nor do we explore every possible driver for retirement decisions. Moreover, future retirement decisions may be influenced by different factors than those that have affected past decisions. Nonetheless, it is clear that recently retired plants are relatively old, and that plants with stated planned retirement dates are—on average—no younger. We observe that retired plants are smaller, older, less efficient, and more polluting than operating plants. Based onmore » simple correlation graphics, the strongest predictors of regional retirement differences appear to include SO 2 emissions rates (for coal), planning reserve margins (for all thermal units), variations in load growth or contraction (for all thermal units), and the age of older thermal plans (for all thermal units). Additional apparent predictors of regional retirements include the ratio of coal to gas prices and delivered natural gas prices. Other factors appear to have played lesser roles, including the penetration variable renewable energy (VRE), recent non-VRE capacity additions, and whether the region hosts an ISO/RTO.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE)
OSTI Identifier:
1411667
Report Number(s):
LBNL-2001083
ark:/13030/qt1489x150
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY

Citation Formats

Mills, Andrew D., Wiser, Ryan H., and Seel, Joachim. Power Plant Retirements: Trends and Possible Drivers. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1411667.
Mills, Andrew D., Wiser, Ryan H., & Seel, Joachim. Power Plant Retirements: Trends and Possible Drivers. United States. doi:10.2172/1411667.
Mills, Andrew D., Wiser, Ryan H., and Seel, Joachim. 2017. "Power Plant Retirements: Trends and Possible Drivers". United States. doi:10.2172/1411667. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1411667.
@article{osti_1411667,
title = {Power Plant Retirements: Trends and Possible Drivers},
author = {Mills, Andrew D. and Wiser, Ryan H. and Seel, Joachim},
abstractNote = {This paper synthesizes available data on historical and planned power plant retirements. Specifically, we present data on historical generation capacity additions and retirements over time, and the types of plants recently retired and planned for retirement. We then present data on the age of plants that have recently retired or that have plans to retire. We also review the characteristics of plants that recently retired or plan to retire vs. those that continue to operate, focusing on plant size, age, heat rate, and SO2 emissions. Finally, we show the level of recent thermal plant retirements on a regional basis and correlate those data with a subset of possible factors that may be contributing to retirement decisions. This basic data synthesis cannot be used to precisely estimate the relative magnitude of retirement drivers. Nor do we explore every possible driver for retirement decisions. Moreover, future retirement decisions may be influenced by different factors than those that have affected past decisions. Nonetheless, it is clear that recently retired plants are relatively old, and that plants with stated planned retirement dates are—on average—no younger. We observe that retired plants are smaller, older, less efficient, and more polluting than operating plants. Based on simple correlation graphics, the strongest predictors of regional retirement differences appear to include SO2 emissions rates (for coal), planning reserve margins (for all thermal units), variations in load growth or contraction (for all thermal units), and the age of older thermal plans (for all thermal units). Additional apparent predictors of regional retirements include the ratio of coal to gas prices and delivered natural gas prices. Other factors appear to have played lesser roles, including the penetration variable renewable energy (VRE), recent non-VRE capacity additions, and whether the region hosts an ISO/RTO.},
doi = {10.2172/1411667},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month =
}

Technical Report:

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