New England to be Coal-Free by 2028, Marking Significant Victory for Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign

Last New Hampshire Coal Plants, Merrimack and Schiller, to Close after 25 Years of Advocacy

BOW, NH. – Today, following negotiations with Sierra Club, The Conservation Law Foundation, and EPA, Granite Shore Power has committed to ending the era of coal in New England by retiring the coal-burning units at Merrimack and Schiller Stations in New Hampshire, by 2028 and 2025 respectively. In total, 560 megawatts of dirty power are set to go offline. After tireless advocacy work from local Sierra Club staff and volunteers, New Hampshire is the 16th coal-free state, the 12th to go coal-free since the Beyond Coal campaign launched in 2010. New England is the nation’s second entirely coal-free region, following the Pacific Northwest.

The 460 MW Merrimack Station has had an outsized impact on local air and water quality. In February 2023, the coal plant’s particulate matter (PM) emissions allegedly exceeded EPA limits by 70%, according to the New Hampshire Department of Environment Services. A successful smoke stack retest has not been completed since and, according to DES, Merrimack Station is currently not in compliance with EPA standards.

For decades, the Sierra Club and its partners have engaged in legal, regulatory, and organizing actions to clean up both plants. The New Hampshire Sierra Club chapter has led collaborative organizing from Massachusetts to Maine, previously held local hair testing for mercury contamination, and championed the passage of multiple bipartisan state bills. Attorneys with the Sierra Club Environmental Law Program have similarly engaged in numerous dockets before the New Hampshire Public Utility Commission and other legal efforts. 

The closure of Merrimack and Schiller mark the 380th and 381st coal plant retirements Sierra Club has championed alongside community and climate allies.

“This historic victory is a testament to the strength and resolve of those who never wavered in the fight for their communities and future,” said Ben Jealous, Sierra Club Executive Director. “The people of New Hampshire and all of New England will soon breathe cleaner air and drink safer water, and I’m incredibly proud to see the region continue to grow as a leader in the clean energy transition.”

“Today, we celebrate as, at long last, New Hampshire joins our coal-free neighbors across New England,” said Cathy Corkery, Senior Organizer of the New Hampshire Sierra Club. “Local communities have long unjustly shouldered the burden of health and safety concerns caused by Merrimack Station and Schiller Stations’ pollution. Now, after years of advocacy by the local Sierra Club community, volunteers, advocates, and allies, an end is in sight. With coal soon gone, New Hampshire can lead the region in clean energy development and reap the economic and health benefits for generations of Granite State families.”

“In communities across the country, the Sierra Club is working to achieve similar outcomes to the one we fought so hard for here in New Hampshire, ” said Holly Bender, Sierra Club Chief Energy Officer. “Thanks to the unwavering dedication and strategic vision of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, local activists, and our partners, we're ushering in a new, coal-free era in New England, one that will unlock clean energy for the region.” 

“The job’s not done until every community is free from the public health burden of coal and other fossil fuels. Polluting gas projects, like Enbridge’s Project Maple pipeline expansion, must not move forward. Together, we will continue to work toward 100 percent clean energy, in New England and across the nation, to ensure a future where clean air, water, good jobs, and thriving communities are non-negotiable.”

“The end of coal in New Hampshire, and for the New England region as a whole, is now certain and in sight,” said Tom Irwin, Vice President Conservation Law Foundation in New Hampshire. “Now we must vigorously push for the phaseout of other polluting fuels like oil and gas.  New England is positioned to be a leader in building a future where our energy comes from 100% clean sources, and fossil fuels no longer pollute the climate and threaten the health of our communities.”

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit