What happened to the 151 proposed coal plants?

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

This article is part of the CoalSwarm coverage of coal plants

Beginning around the year 2000, in response to increases in natural gas prices, utilities across the United States began a renewed push to build new coal-fired electricity generating plants and coal-fuelwd synthetic fuels plants. The National Energy Technology Laboratory, a division of the Department of Energy, issues periodic updates of "Tracking New Coal-Fired Power Plants," a database of such projects, but that report ceased providing project-specific information after May 2007. The May 2007 list, which showed 151 proposed coal plants, received widespread publicity and helped galvanize the movement for a coal moratorium.[1]

As of September 2017, the status of the plants shown on the list is as follows:

  • Cancelled, abandoned, or on hold: 110 projects (73%);
  • In operation: 41 projects (27%).

In addition to the 151 proposed coal plants listed in the May 2007 NETL report, additional coal projects continue to be identified by the Sierra Club, which maintains the "Stopping the Coal Rush" database. As of September 1, 2017, the list included 236 projects:[2]

  • Active (i.e. still proposed): 14 projects (6%);
  • Cancelled: 192 projects (81%);
  • Progressing (i.e. commissioned or near commissioning): 30 projects (13%).

A table showing the status of proposed plants, and showing the CoalSwarm name for the project and the corresponding Sierra Club name, can be found at Proposed coal plants in the United States.

Information on proposed coal plants outside the United States can be found at Proposed coal plants (international).

The following is the status in December 2013 of the 151 proposed coal plants listed by the May 2007 NETL report:

Cancelled, Abandoned, or on Hold




  1. Ted Nace, Stopping Coal in Its Tracks, Orion Magazine, January/February 2008.
  2. "Stopping the Coal Rush," Sierra Club coal tracking database, accessed September 2017.

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