Mapping the Economics of U.S. Coal Power and the Rise of Renewables

How to read CoalMap:
  • Every dot represents a coal plant that was operating in the US in 2013 (the most recent complete dataset available when this analysis was performed). Our focus is on grid-connected electric power. The only coal plants shown are those owned by electric utilities or independent power producers (IPPs) and used primarily for electricity generation (not combined heat and power generation).
  • The color of each dot represents the cheapest power generation option at the location of each coal plant. For example, a yellow dot means that electricity from a new utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at the same location would be cheaper than power from the existing coal plant under the simulated conditions.
  • Black dots represent coal plants that have already been retired.
  • Gray dots represent coal plants that are scheduled for retirement.
  • The size of each dot represents the nameplate capacity of the existing coal plant.
  • Pro Tip: Change the map to "Satellite" view and zoom in to any dot to see a closeup view of each plant.
For more detailed explanation of the calculations shown here, please check out the paper published in MIT Energy Initiative Working Paper Series (pdf).
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