Your next big job opportunity: Tearing down coal plants

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By: SGN Staff

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Quick Take: Although it's certainly no surprise, Navigant Research has documented that North America and Europe are about to see a massive wave of coal plant retirements or conversions. Many utility executives just don't see any point in resisting the many pressures against coal.

By the way, if you don't like the idea of tearing down plants in North America and Europe, you can travel to China and other parts of Asia, where they are building them far faster than we are pulling them down in the rest of the world. - By Jesse Berst

 

Coal Plant Decommissioning

 

Driven by tightening environmental regulations, competition from natural gas plants, and public pressure for cleaner sources of electricity, utilities will retire record numbers of aging coal plants between 2013 and 2020. Coal plant owners face a complex series of decisions around these plants, including whether to convert them to natural gas combustion, how best to accomplish the decommissioning process, how to replace the generating capacity, and what the eventual disposition of the facility and the land will be.

 

At the same time, the coming wave of retirements offers large opportunities to the companies that will carry out the decommissioning processes: consultants; engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) companies; demolition companies; environmental remediation firms; and so on. While retirements will occur in many countries, the majority will take place in North America and Western Europe, as countries in Asia Pacific, for example, continue on a path of major coal generation additions in the next 2 decades. Navigant Research forecasts that the market for coal plant decommissioning in North America and Europe will grow from $455 million in 2013 to $1.3 billion by 2016, declining rapidly thereafter. Cumulative revenue from 2013 to 2020 will total $5.3 billion.