Researched by Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas)--As coal-fired power plants continue to close their doors, proper maintenance is only becoming more important for those staying open. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2.7 gigawatts (GW) of U.S. coal-fired generating capacity is scheduled to retire in 2021, following 48 GW of retirements over the past five years. Meanwhile, natural gas supplied its second-highest annual amount to U.S. end users in 2020. Industrial Info is tracking more than 40 maintenance-related projects at coal-fired power plants in the U.S. and Canada that are set to begin in the second quarter.

Many of the coal-fired units set for maintenance will not be around in the long term. American Electric Power Company Incorporated (AEP) (NYSE:AEP) (Columbus, Ohio) and Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) (Charlotte, North Carolina) are among the many energy providers that have pledged dramatic reductions in their carbon emissions: AEP expects to cut its carbon dioxide (CO2) output by 70% from 2000 by 2030, while Duke is vowing to eliminate completely its CO2 emissions by 2050.

Kentucky Power Company, a subsidiary of AEP, expects to perform maintenance on units 1 and 2 at the Mitchell Power Station in Moundsville, West Virginia, each of which generates 816 megawatts (MW). Duke Energy Kentucky is preparing for an outage on Unit 2 at the East Bend Power Station in Union, Kentucky. For more information, see Industrial Info's reports on the Mitchell and East Bend projects, as well as November 23, 2020, article - AEP Capital Investments Remain Focused on T&D Business, and February 12, 2021, article - Duke Energy Buckles Up for Renewables Ride as it Aims for Net-Zero Carbon Emissions.

Southern Company (NYSE:SO) (Atlanta, Georgia) is preparing for an outage on the 952-MW Unit 1 at its Wansley Power Station in Franklin, Georgia, although it plans to reduce coal use as well. "We have quite a bit of generation modernization to do that we have not yet quantified," said Drew Evans, the chief financial officer of Southern, in a recent conference call. "We've got about 10 gigawatts of coal-fired facilities in aggregate. We'll have to find some method of meeting the reliability requirements of our customer base without relying on coal as a primary source of megawatt-hour production." For more information, see Industrial Info's project report.

Midwestern utility Ameren Corporation (NYSE:AEE) (St. Louis, Missouri), whose chief executive officer recently said the company plans to "responsibly retire our coal-fired energy centers over time," is readying for an outage on the 574-MW Unit 2 at its Labadie Power Station in Labadie, Missouri. The outage was rescheduled from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, see Industrial Info's project report.

The two states with the highest number of second-quarter coal unit outages, Kentucky and North Dakota, each have four. Kentucky is considered a "coal state," but North Dakota often makes headlines for its considerable natural gas reserves. Three of North Dakota's planned outages are at facilities owned by Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Bismarck, North Dakota): Unit 1 and Unit 2 at the Antelope Valley Power Station in Beulah, which have capacities of 435 and 870 MW, respectively, and the 440-MW Unit 2 at Leland Olds Power Station in Stanton. Each outage is expected to begin in April, with varying completion dates. For more information, see Industrial Info's project reports on Unit 1 and Unit 2 at the Antelope Valley, and Leland Olds.

Click here for a full list of coal-fired maintenance projects that are set to kick off from April through June across the U.S. and Canada

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