EIA Says EPA Will Double Projected Coal Fired Plant Closings Under New Regulations

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.

Other interesting findings of the report 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.”

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