Urge Gov. Corbett to support clean energy policies that yield quality jobs.
Citing the higher costs of coal, overcapacity, the inefficiency of 60-year-old facilities, and the need to harmful emissions, GenOn Energy Inc. announced on Leap Day that eight power plants will be closed by 2015. Welcoming this move, which will reduce mountain top mining, reduce emission of toxins like mercury, and lessen the problem of treating harmful coal ash, the Sierra Club called for a shift to renewable energy sources.
To be closed in June 2012 are the Elrama plant on the shores of the Mon River in northern Washington County, followed in April 2015 by the Shawville plant in Clearfield County and the Newcastle plant in Lawrence County. Three other plants are in the eastern part of the state, two in Ohio, and one in New Jersey.
The announced closings by GenOn Energy brings the national total of retiring coal-fired power plants to 106 since the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign started ten years ago. “Today’s news is part of a national trend of clean energy replacing coal, with states like Iowa and South Dakota generate 20% of their electricity from wind,” said Randy Francisco, Organizing Representative with the Beyond Coal Campaign in Pennsylvania. “Now is the time for Pennsylvania to establish itself as a leader in a clean energy economy that can put people back to work in good jobs in an industry that won’t pollute our air and water.”
ACTION: Send a message to Governor Tom Corbett telling him to support strong clean energy policies that bring quality jobs to Pennsylvania.
With the nation’s clean energy use at a record high, Pennsylvania is already emerging as a leader in the growing clean energy economy. In 2009 Pennsylvania was ranked 3rd in the nation for green jobs, with 38,763 Pennsylvanians working in the clean energy industry. As the clean energy sector emerges to replace coal, policies are needed to ensure the transition benefits the workers we depend on for our energy needs.
Since the Beyond Coal campaign began:
- Proposals for 166 new coal-fired power plants have been abandoned, opening market space for clean energy.
- The campaign has helped secure retirement dates for 106 existing plants, meaning nearly 13% of current coal generation is now slated for retirement.
- New mountaintop removal mining permits have slowed to a trickle.
- 19 colleges and universities have won fights to phase out coal plants on their campuses, thanks in large part to the hard hitting campaigns of Sierra Student Coalition.
- Hundreds of thousands of people have mobilized in support of strong clean air and water protections
- Sierra Club and its allies signed an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority to phase out coal plants, representing the biggest clean air agreement in the history of the Southeast.