A Winter’s Tale: Why We Need a Coal Fleet

Unusually frigid weather ― aka “bomb cyclone” ― has slammed much of the eastern United States this week. As a result, coal has been called on to produce more electricity than natural gas, nuclear, and renewables.

For example, in the PJM region (13 eastern states) coal provided nearly 20,000 megawatts (MW) more power than natural gas; 10,000 MW more than nuclear; and five times more power than renewables on January 3.

On the same day, coal generated more than half the electricity in the MISO region (15 midwestern states and part of Canada) and the SPP region (14 states in the central U.S.).

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Energy Secretary Rick Perry cited the “polar vortex” that many of us remember to underscore the need for electricity market reforms that value the fuel security and reliability attributes of the coal fleet. Secretary Perry and others understand that during the coldest weather the coal fleet can be counted on 24/7 to provide reliable, resilient power.

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