This Climate Watch project graph reveals 2010 data of power plant capacity by initial year of operation.

The coming years will be a crucial time for power sector decision-makers to make choices about how power will be generated in the decades to come, as a significant fraction of existing U.S. power plants are approaching the end of their useful life. At the end of 2012, around 51 percent of all generating capacity was more than 30 years old. While most gas-fired capacity is fewer than 20 years old, 74 percent of coal-fired power plants are older than 30 years (see figure, above). As a result, the EIA projects that nearly 60 Gigawatts—or more than one-sixth—of coal-fired power capacity will retire between 2010 and 2020.