Make Hydrogen Happen

Maryland’s Brandon Shores can’t close down — even though its owners want it to. The coal plant is a poster child for how poor grid planning stalls climate progress.

On the banks of Maryland’s Patapsco River, about 10 miles south of Baltimore, there’s an aging coal plant that pretty much everyone wants to shut down. Local community activists, environmental groups, state officials, even the company that owns the coal-burning facility — they all want to close the Brandon Shores Power Plant next year.

But they can’t.

Think of Brandon Shores as a zombie coal plant: a polluting and money-losing facility that’s being kept alive due to a lack of foresight from grid planners and an outdated set of energy market and policy regimes that have made it nearly impossible to replace the plant with cheaper and cleaner alternatives.

The facility, which groups have been trying to shut down for years, now faces the prospect of being kept open at the expense of Maryland utility customers until at least 2028 — and potentially even longer. Efforts to replace it with a massive grid battery and targeted grid upgrades, which advocates say can be done quickly and at a comparatively low cost, have also been shot down.

Unless utilities, regional grid organizations, state regulators, and clean-power advocates can correct these problems, the 1,278-megawatt coal plant could foreshadow much broader threats to the prospect of cleaning up the mid-Atlantic region’s power grid.

[Read more at the Canary Media website]