news by location
Coal power slippage signals the end of an era
The latest plant retirement announcements—in Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Wisconsin—highlight how coal continues to lose its historical stature as a baseload source of electricity.
Illinois advocates press for more career-development funding
Economic-diversification proponents continue to promote passage of the Clean Energy Jobs Act, which would increase state investment in a program eight-fold, to $25 million, and create 13 new “jobs hubs.”
Utility-company scandals aren’t likely to slow Illinois power-generation transition
Legislative advocates for the state’s aggressive shift toward a modern energy economy, which will generate tax revenue, lease income, ratepayer benefits and new jobs, vow to press ahead in 2020.
Analysis: Illinois Basin coal is dying out
Mining companies in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky continue to lose domestic and foreign customers and will be entirely out of business inside of 20 years, a new research report concludes.
Commentary: Illinois is on the verge of a new-energy boom
The Illinois Clean Energy Jobs Act is shrewd economic policy-making, setting up the state to gain from a growing industry that will bring new employment and expand local tax bases.
Murray Energy, regional pillar of coal industry, is sinking
The largest privately-held coal producer in America is having trouble making payments to creditors. The company operates in Appalachia, the Illinois Basin, and Utah, with 7,000 employees and 16 mines.
Pursuing common ground on ‘social justice and equity’
In Illinois, the conversation moves from big-city issues to small-town ones that focus on achieving consensus among groups that include churches, labor, health interests, and environmentalists.
Editorial: Onward with Illinois energy transition
“In the absence of coherent federal leadership on one of the most critical issues of modern times, it falls to Illinois and other states to step up.”
Call for state community investment after abrupt power-plant closure notice in Illinois
“The fact is the current business market for coal-based energy is simply no longer sustainable,” an influential state legislator said. “We must be proactive in helping those communities that this will adversely effect.”
In Illinois, an agreement to hasten further shift from coal
Texas-based Vista Energy will close 40 percent of its generation capacity at eight Illinois coal plants by the end of the year. The plan, brokered by the state, defies Trump administration policy.
Illinois farmers are investing in solar spreads
Citing “the uncertain economics of their lives and the need to have other income,” hundreds of farmers are seeking permits as the state aims for 25 percent renewable power generation by 2025.
Report: Coal plants in Illinois have neglected clean-up obligations
As pollution from coal-fired plants continues to taint community water supplies after officials “failed for decades to hold corporations accountable,” the governor-elect must now force utilities to pay for cleanup.
Survey: Majority of Americans prefer renewable energy
A poll by Consumer Reports finds that most Americans would prefer to get their electricity from renewable sources. Of note in the survey results: Residents of four states with a higher-than-average use of coal—Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia—are in line with the majority.
Biggest U.S. carmaker is turning to renewables to run its factories
General Motors, the biggest carmaker in the U.S., is moving aggressively to source electricity for its factories from renewables instead of traditional fossil-fuel-fired power plants. The shift is driven by cost considerations at manufacturing facilities that make pickups and SUVs in Illinois and Ohio. “Wind and solar are the lowest cost resource,” a GE executive said. “We’re buying into long-term contracts that have no fuel components, so we can put price stability in the cost to build these vehicles.”
Banks stymie state efforts to collect on mine-cleanup bonds
Cleanup efforts around an Illinois coal mine that closed in 1989 have been stymied by restoration bond guarantees tangled in red tape. The case is similar to others across the U.S. in which mergers of banks have created executive ranks reluctant to honor mine-cleanup assurances. “Failures in the system mean that bond money is sometimes nowhere to be found when it’s needed. In several instances in recent years, banks holding bonds in the form of letters of credit or certificates of deposit have fought back when states sought to collect on them.”
Midwest receives greater transition focus
JTF, long active in Appalachia and in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana, sees the Illinois Basin, which underlies much of the state, as an area of growing need. “It’s important to note that what a just transition looks like is different in different places,” said Heidi Binko, JTF’s executive director.
Court Settlement Marks End of the Road for Chicago-Area Coal Plants
A federal court settlement in Illinois closes the case on six coal-fired plants in the Chicago area that are slated to shut down or switch to natural gas. The case is of note in part because of the Trump administration’s acquiescence to the agreement. “I don't believe (coal) is going to have a renaissance," said one utility executive. "I think it's on its way out."
Analysis: Closure of 8 Failing Coal Plants Would Not Affect Illinois Power Grid
Continuing to subsidize eight struggling coal-fired power plants in Illinois makes no sense, concludes two researchers at the National Resource Defense Council: “Dynegy-Vistra has contrived a problem that does not exist, arguing that if its coal plants closed, electricity supply in Central and Southern Illinois would be in jeopardy and the likelihood of power outages would significantly increase. That’s simply not true.”
In $100 Million Deal, Developer Will Replace Chicago Coal Plant With Online-Shopper Warehouses
The site of a Chicago coal-fired power plant that was shuttered in 2014 has been sold to a development company that plans to spend $100 million to turn the 70-acre location into a warehouse complex for online shoppers. Crawford Power Generating Station, which opened in the 1920s, was one of the last two coal-fired plants in Chicago at the time of its closure.