Over 9,000MW of coal-fired generation retired in the US in 2012, primarily due stringent pollution standards and cheaper natural gas.

American firms have retired or announced plans to close down shut or convert about 36,000MW of older coal-fired plants over the next few years, reports Reuters.

The companies are working to cut down emissions in advance of new environmental rules and shift to cost-effective natural gas.

Coal plants account for nearly 316,000MW of generation in the US, or about 30% of the country 1,039,000MW electric fleet.

Coal-fired generators were anticipated to produce about 38% of the country’s power supply last year, down from 42% in 2011, the government data showed.

However, the Energy Information Administration is expecting coal to generate about 40% of the power in US this year.