A new coal-fired power plant in Oregon is on track to cost $4.5 billion, the latest in a string of costly upgrades for coal-burning power plants in the United States.
A news release from the National Mining Association on Thursday said the Oregon facility would cost about $3.7 billion to construct.
In July, the Oregon Energy & Utilities Commission approved the construction of the $4 billion Salem Coal Project, which will provide electricity to Oregon’s coal-mining communities and other utilities.
The commission has set a goal of generating about 1.7 gigawatts of electricity from renewable energy.
The company that built the power plant said it expects to have it operational in 2024.
The company also said the Salem Coal Power Plant will generate enough electricity to power more than 2,000 homes and businesses in the Portland metro area.
At the same time, the utility said on Thursday that it has been awarded $8.5 million in loan guarantees for another coal plant, the $8 billion Oregon Generating Station.
The project is expected to produce about 2.2 gigawatts (GW) of electricity.
Both projects are part of a larger project to modernize coal plants across the U.S. and the world.
Coal plants have been under pressure from natural gas prices, which have dropped by about 30 percent in the last year, as coal plants have become more efficient and coal emissions have dropped.
Environmental groups and others have criticized the cost of the projects, arguing that they are unnecessary, costly and have had a negative impact on the environment.
Despite those criticisms, the coal companies that build the plants say they are making the investments necessary to modernise their coal plants and reduce emissions.