Written by Reyna Basa, Communications Intern
The use of coal plants and coal-based energy sources is dwindling in the United States as plants close every year due to pressures from environmental groups and communities, aging infrastructure, the increase in cost of pollution control upgrades, and plants being economically uncompetitive with other forms of energy.
As the U.S. energy market shifts away from coal, the local communities in which these plants once operated are left with potentially destructive economic and social impacts. Navigating the closure process, planning for tax and job losses, and securing funds to plan for and redevelop coal plant sites takes significant time and energy, so communities benefit from early action and planning.
We compiled real stories and examples from U.S. communities in the trenches of coal transition in In Transition: Stories from Coal Plant Communities with the intention to help municipal leaders, union representatives, community activists, and others navigate the process.
In Transition: Stories from Coal Plant Communities is a collection of vignettes highlighting coal plants from communities across the country, including those that have announced closure, those in the transition process, and those that have been redeveloped. We found that each story provides real, applicable solutions to foreseeable issues. We sourced historical documents, news coverage, press releases from environmental organizations and utilities, and lessons we’ve learned from the transitioning communities with which we’ve worked.
The stories present information pertaining to closure date, job transition, environmental impacts, energy replacement, funding sources, and end uses, and some stories emphasize how planning and community engagement efforts contribute to redevelopment and reuse outcomes.