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By KAREN DILLON
The Kansas City Star
If the Sunflower Electric Power Corp. coal-fired power plants are built in Kansas — and that’s still an if — they could be among the last to go up in America for quite a while.
Just a few years ago, 180 coal plants were on the drawing boards across the country. Now that number may be down by half.
“The rush to build new coal plants is on its last legs,” said James Gignac, Midwest director of Sierra Club’s “Move Beyond Coal” campaign. “Over 90 of the coal plants have been abandoned or defeated.”
Even industry officials acknowledge that applications for new plants have slowed significantly.
“What we have seen in the past year and a half is a decrease in the numbers of proposals for new coal-fired power plants,” said Dan Riedinger, a spokesman for Edison Electric Institute, which represents 70 percent of the electric power industry.