Converting Coal Plants To Clean Energy Storage

U.S. utilities have scheduled the retirement of 74 gigawatts worth of coal power plants between 2022 and 2028

As the coal fleet ages and operators of fossil fuel-fired generators face progressively stringent emissions control requirements and increasing competition from renewables, U.S. utilities have scheduled the retirement of 74 gigawatts worth of coal power plants between 2022 and 2028 according S&P Global Market Intelligence. Decommissioning these plants, which are often foundational to the local economy, deprives communities of important tax revenue, displaces workers, and disrupts family life.

February 10, 2022 - More than 23 GW of coal capacity to retire in 2028 as plant closures accelerate - S&P Global Market Intelligence

A better, cleaner path forward

A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) study validated the use of Malta’s Thermo-Electric Energy Storage system to cost-effectively convert a retired or retiring coal plant (or other steam turbine fossil generation unit) into a long-duration energy storage plant. This transformation of extant power plant and interconnection infrastructure can enable the clean energy transition, provide a pathway into the green economy for the existing workforce, and sustain the community for an additional 30+ years.

The year-long study was completed by Duke Energy and the DOE, which performed a full techno-economic evaluation and assessment of the application of Malta’s thermal energy storage technology to repurpose a Duke Energy coal plant.

At Malta, we’re looking forward to more coal operators reaching out to us about this revolutionary, attractive alternative to plant retirement.

The retirement of a coal-fired unit represents significant opportunity to reutilize the extant power plant infrastructure for thermal energy storage, according to a 2022 study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative.

Transitioning the Workforce

The U.S. DOE has found that repurposing a retiring coal unit to become a Malta energy storage plant can maintain the same number and types of jobs, on a dollar per megawatt basis, as the coal plant had previously. This retention of economic activity can help breathe new life into coal plant communities, deliver clean-energy jobs to coal plant workers, and help mitigate the disproportionate impact of America’s energy transition on coal country.

Bringing the benefits of the energy transition to coal country.

In May 2022, Cipher magazine published Ramya Swaminathan’s exciting vision for transitioning retiring coal facilities into Malta energy storage plants. The plan retains workers, local revenue and breathes new life into declining communities with few options.

Read it here

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