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New Energy

US Coal Plants’ Fate Hinges on June Power-Price Auction

The country’s biggest grid will announce next week how much it will pay generators to ensure people’s lights stay on. Some plants won’t make the cut.

A coal power plant. 

A coal power plant. 

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Some of the country’s oldest and dirtiest coal power plants will be forced to consider whether to shut their doors once and for all when the results of a key price auction on the largest US grid are announced next week. 

Suppliers to the grid stretching from New Jersey to Illinois will find out on June 21 whether their bids to provide backup capacity for the year starting June 2023 passed muster. If they bid low enough to win a contract, a big chunk of their revenue is locked in. If high operating costs meant their bids were too pricey, some plants serving the PJM Interconnection LLC grid might decide it’s no longer viable to churn out power.