New EPA Regulations – is coal on its way out?
In the United States, we use coal to meet about half of our electricity needs. But, with new EPA air pollution rules slated to go into effect next year 20% of the country’s coal power plants might be cooling down their boilers closing the plant doors. According to a recent Christian Science Monitor article on the new EPA rules, the speed with which these requirements are instituted is the driving force behind these plant closures.
The 20% of the coal fleet that is at rick is predominately filled with older facilities (40 years + in service) that have historically benefited from exemptions from emissions requirements (a.k.a. “grandfathering“) but will not escape from Clean Air Act requirements.The short timeline (new rules will be in effect starting in April and November of 2011) makes it uneconomic for these plants to upgrade their current systems. Instead, older power plants – with their antiquated emissions control systems – will quickly fall into retirement.
It looks like there is quite a year in store for us on the energy and environment front…