June 10 (Renewables Now) - Billionaire philanthropist Michael Bloomberg on Friday announced an investment of USD 500 million (EUR 443m) in the Beyond Carbon programme that seeks to speed up US coal power plant retirements and rein in the expansion of gas-fired power.
This new initiative will build on the Beyond Coal programme which sought to close at least a third of the US’ coal power plants. Today, 289 out 530 have been shut down, and the goal of Beyond Carbon is to close the rest by 2030.
The latest update by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) shows the US had 257.5 GW of coal power plants in operation at the end of April, with just 13.3 GW expected to be retired by May 2022. The country's natural gas-fired power generation capacity, meanwhile, has jumped to 531.1 GW and is seen to grow by at least 28.7 GW over three years.
“We will employ the same advocacy, legal, and electoral strategies that have proven so successful in retiring coal-fired power plants – which we have continued to close at the same fast rate under this administration as we did under the previous one – and also in passing gun safety background check laws in states around the country. This campaign will ensure that after the 2020 election, the next Administration inherits a country on its way to a 100 percent clean energy economy,” said Bloomberg.
The Beyond Carbon initiative will work with state and local organisations to pass climate and clean energy policies. It will also pursue partnership at all levels, including expanding support for grassroots organisations and frontline communities, in order to grow the climate movement. Beyond Carbon will help elect state and local candidates who are climate champions.