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This state blew up its last coal plant to make way for a massive, community-changing construction project: 'In our opinion, it's irreversible'

"Folks just have to get on the train."

Logan Generating Station coal plant

New Jersey has demolished Logan Generating Station, one of its last coal-fired power plants, Bloomberg reports.

Built only 28 years ago, the plant was purchased from Atlantic City Electric in 2018 by Starwood Energy Group, Bloomberg says. The investment company intends to convert it and the nearby Chambers plant to make affordable, clean energy — meaning electricity that's generated without putting heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere.

This project is part of a push in the U.S. and throughout the world to get rid of polluting energy sources that warm up the planet. Similar projects in Michigan, Hawaii, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, Massachusetts, and other states are making the country's electric power healthier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly.

This change could not be more timely, as a new report from the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal Campaign recently revealed the harm caused by the U.S.'s heavy reliance on coal. 

The fine particle pollution from coal plants causes 3,800 premature deaths each year, often in states far away from the actual location of the plant. And that data doesn't even include the health risks caused by other types of coal pollution.

Coal is also expensive compared to other options. According to Forbes, "209 out of 210 existing U.S. coal plants are now more expensive to run compared to replacement by new cheaper wind or solar energy in the same region."

Meanwhile, the heat-trapping gases generated by coal plants contribute to increasing temperatures worldwide. The heat, in turn, causes more frequent and more destructive natural disasters like hurricanes and floods.

Switching to eco-friendly solar, wind, and water power is the smart move for health, finances, and long-term safety — and after the transition, former coal plants will still play a crucial role. Because these areas are wired to the power grid, they're the perfect places to put energy storage projects, Bloomberg reports

Most clean energy sources need battery storage because, unlike coal which generates power on demand, wind and solar depend on the weather. Providers will need to generate and store energy when conditions are favorable, then release it at night or in calm weather.

So far, New Jersey doesn't have enough wind and solar sources to need battery storage, says Bloomberg. But Starwood Energy Group is investing in what it sees as the inevitable future. 

"In our opinion, it's irreversible," Starwood's CEO, Himanshu Saxena, told Bloomberg. "Folks just have to get on the train."

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