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EIA Report: EPA Climate Rule Will Result In Coal Power Plant Shutdowns Doubling

A new report from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) has projected that the new carbon emissions rules from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) will result in coal-fired power plant shutdowns potentially more than doubling.

To be more specific, the new rules (which are being supported by the Obama administration) could result in a projected 90 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power plants being retired by the year 2040. This compares against the roughly 40 GW of coal-fired power plants that would likely be shutdown anyways by 2040 in the absence of the new carbon emissions rules.

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Other interesting findings of the report (which can be found in its entirety here) include: A rise in electricity prices of as much as 3-7% throughout the 2020s as companies take action to remain in compliance (as compared against the scenario without the new rules); and a rise in renewable energy capacity 160% above where it would be without the rules — altogether, resulting in a projected 174 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2040.

As you can probably guess, despite the rise in the importance of renewables due to the rules, natural gas takes up a larger role in the nation’s electricity generation as well. According to the new report: “Switching from coal-fired generation to natural gas-fired generation is the predominant compliance strategy as implementation begins, with renewables playing a growing role in the mid-2020s and beyond.”

Worth noting here, is that the new report represents the first comprehensive one on the EPA’s new rule from a government body other than the EPA itself.

A final version of the new regulation is currently expected to be released by the EPA in August.

Image Credit: Energy Information Administration

 
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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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