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I build 5 - 6 power plants at center of my island and those small square power units to spread electricity all over the island. I build mine over all coal deposits to provide coal to the power plants.

At first, the power plants run properly, but then gradually in few months, power outages increase. Most of the times, only 2 out of 6 power plants are generating putting country in red.

I am planning on exporting coal via trade routes. Will it help me??

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    Coal power plants need coal to run, so exporting your main power source may not be the best idea. Deposits have a finite amount of resource in them, so when you run out, the power plants will stop working. Your workers also need to be happy enough to work, etc. so we may need more details about why they fail before we can give a definite answer. – Dpeif Jan 24 '16 at 19:57
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Well, same as in real world, you should invest in diverse array of energy sources!

  • Build wind mills (expensive, no workers)
  • Build geothermal plants (cheaper, needs workers)
  • Build wave-powered plants (cheapest upkeep, needs workers)
  • Build a nuclear power plant (moderate cost, needs workers)

Also you may:

  • Increase budgets and/or assign managers (depending on your constitution policies +managers/+budget)
  • Import coal/natural gas with power plant upgrade.
  • Check logistics - fuel can be stuck in mines/ports and you may be short teamsters.

In my personal experience 1 power plant, 1 nuclear plant and a couple geothermal/wind/wave power plants can sustain a population up to 2000 tropicans given stable supply of fuel and employees.

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