Factbox: U.S. coal-fired power plants scheduled to shut

Oct 28 (Reuters) - U.S. power companies plan to retire or convert from coal to gas over 6,100 megawatts (MW) of coal-fired plants in 2021 after shutting over 13,100 MW in 2020, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and Thomson Reuters data.

That compares with almost 15,000 MW shut in 2019 and an all-time high of over 19,300 MW shut in 2015. One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes.

U.S. coal power capacity peaked over 317,600 MW in 2011, according to EIA data. It has declined every year since and was down to about 216,800 MW by the end of 2020.

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The total generating capacity in the United States - including coal, natural gas, renewables and nuclear - was about 1.1 million MW in 2019.

Cheap gas from record shale production and rising use of renewable sources of power have kept electric prices relatively low in recent years. That makes it uneconomic for generators to continue operating older, less efficient coal plants, especially if they need upgrades to meet increasingly strict federal and state environmental rules.

Coal was the primary fuel for U.S. power plants for much of the last century, but its use has been declining since peaking in 2007. That was around the same time drillers figured out how to use hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling economically pull gas out of shale formations.

Gas overtook coal as the leading fuel for U.S. power plants in 2016, according to federal data, and has held that title ever since.

It takes roughly 175 million cubic feet of gas per day of gas to generate about 1,000 MW.

The following lists the U.S. coal plants expected to shut or be converted to other fuels over the next couple of decades.

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Reporting by Scott DiSavino

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