This E&E News article discusses how ‘Stranded costs’ are mounting as coal vanishes from the grid.
When Wisconsin’s largest utility announced in 2017 that it would shut down one of the state’s largest coal-burning power plants, environmental groups celebrated the news as a victory for climate and air quality.
The decision meant the 1,210-megawatt Pleasant Prairie plant would no longer send electrons to the grid. And its giant smokestack would no longer pump out pollutants into the skies over southeast Wisconsin.
But while the plant sits idle, the meter is still running for consumers and likely will for the next 20 years until the remaining balance on the plant is repaid, as well as a profit for shareholders. The tab will approach $1 billion over the next two decades, according to recent filings with the Wisconsin Public Service Commission.