Good News: Oregon Will Go Coal Free

Oregon is planning to close it's last coal power plant by 2020, at which point it will join a small club of coal-free states.

Oregon is planning to close its last coal power plant, that one in the picture above, ahead of schedule.

There's currently only one lonely coal-fired power plant in all of Oregon. But by 2020, there will be none—Portland General Electric Co., which operates the plant, has announced that it will either shutter the 585 megawatt Boardman plant or convert it to burn biomass. In less than 10 years, the state of Oregon will be coal-free.


The Portland General Electric Co. figured it would cost

about $500 million to upgrade the plant to meet expected post-2020 pollution regulations and decided it wasn't worth it.

The state has been relying heavily on hydroelectric power for a while now, so this isn't a revolution, really. As the chart below shows, in 2005 only 8 percent of Oregon's electricity came from coal. Nearly 70 percent came from hydroelectric power.

But it's still nice to have one more coal-free state. Oregon joins Vermont and Rhode Island. Who's next? Check this chart. Maine, Washington, D.C., and Idaho all use very small amounts of coal.

Image by Tedder from Wikimedia Commons