100 coal plants stopped since 2002

This piece is authored by  Zaher Karp.

The Sierra Club has been leading efforts to stop the construction of new coal plants and retire old ones. As of a statement Thursday, the Beyond Coal Campaign has discontinued or prevented the operation of 100 coal plants since 2002, preventing 400 million tons of CO2.

The Intermountain Power Agency said that it would not continue attempting to seek an air permit for its third 900 megawatt coal-fired plant. Chairman of the Utah chapter of the Sierra Club, Wayne Hoskinson, said that the plant would have brought more pollution and with it gone, the door is open for new renewable projects, "like the Milford wind development, allowing the state to still be an exporter of energy without the cost of worsened air quality and more mercury pollution."

The timing of the decision to abandon the project came during a particularly bold Los Angeles announcement. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa  pledged to end its use of coal-fired power by 2020 and work instead with renewable sources.

In a video from the Sierra Club, the organization emphasizes that coal is a "poor investment" and urges watchers to "remain vigilant" towards clean energy. The next round" involves work towards retiring nearly 500 existing coal plants, some built back in the Eisenhower administration.

Bruce Nilles, Director of the Beyond Coal Campaign, said that these results are due to a change in how energy generation is judged and considered by businesses, individuals and governments. As people compare renewable sources to the negative effects of coal, such as health risks and high CO2 emissions, opinions should, according to the Sierra Club, shift away towards technology like wind, which made up nearly half of new generation capacity last year.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Cross-posted on Energyboom.com:  100 coal plants stopped since 2002