The Dynegy Corporation has announced the termination of their coal-plant development partnership with LS Power, effectively canceling plans for six new coal burning power plants. Momentum against coal is growing all around the country, as residents of Kingston, Tennessee recover from a one billion gallon spill of toxic coal ash produced by a coal plant last week. That spill promises to leave streams, fish, front yards and drinking water in the community under health advisories for months, if not years. Now, just two days into 2009 the tally of canceled coal plants is already ticking up.
The environmental community has labeled Dynegy “the next King Coal” in response to their plans to build these coal plants, the largest new coal fleet proposed in the USA. The Sierra Club launched a campaign to Clean Up Dynegy in February 2008, that spring thousands of Green America members asked Dynegy to cancel the plants and with the help of RAN, Public Citizen and a busload of Southern Energy Network student activists a massive protest engulfed Dynegy’s annual meeting in Houston last May. There, inside the shareholder meeting, investors warned about the massive cost of carbon regulation to the company and activists raised concerns about the toll of its coal plants on surrounding communities and the climate. This summer courts in Georgia dealt Dynegy another setback, halting plans for a new plant until the state developed a plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from the plant.
Today Dynegy is backing down, canceling their partnership with LS power. The details are a little dirty: LS Power retains the right to develop the six coal plants on their own. Without Dynegy’s support financing and securing long-term energy purchasing agreements, the plants are very unlikely to be completed. In addition, Dynegy continues construction on two coal plants in Texas and Arkansas, but the environmental community has vowed to continue fighting these plants as well.
Welcome to 2009. There is a hostile climate for new coal plant construction, and a dedicated group of youth pursuing a clean energy future.