As the U.S. moves toward cleaner energy sources, and utilities work toward carbon reduction mandates, coal plants are closing at rapid rates across the country. Approximately 79,000 Americans were employed in coal-fired electricity generation in 2019, 13,000 fewer than in 2016; and in the last year alone, 7,700 coal-fired generation jobs were lost nationwide.
The closure of these plants often leads to economic repercussions in the surrounding areas. For example, the closure of two plants within 20 miles of each other in Illinois resulted in the loss of nearly $2 million in property taxes in 2019, about $950,000 in reduced school district funding, and 135 jobs. For utility providers, the cost to shut down a plant, abandon a grid interconnect, and replace the energy that coal plants have provided for decades is considerable.