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EPA War Against Coal Continues

March 29, 2011

Three recent events highlight how the EPA is forcing the closing of coal-fired power plants. By forcing the closure of these plants, the EPA is causing an increase in the price of electricity to consumers and industry, which hurts our economy.

Arizona Public Service (APS) is planning to close three older coal-fired power plants because of the endless stream of EPA regulations.

Ironically Southern California Edison (SCE) is being forced to stop buying electricity from coal-fired power plants because of California’s regulations, which will allow APS to buy the portion of two other plants partially owned by SCE at Four Corners. These two plants require far less to retrofit than the three older units. Electricity from these two plants can now be sold to Arizona consumers at low cost, while Californians will have to pay more for electricity as SCE gets high-cost electricity from wind and solar.

Meanwhile, Dominion Energy is planning on closing its Salem Harbor coal-fired power plant if it can’t get rate relief to cover the cost of retrofitting this 738 MW coal-fired power plant. The retrofitting is necessary because of EPA regulations.

Only last week, Georgia Power said it was seeking approval to close two coal fired power plants because of the cost of complying with EPA regulations.

Recent data indicates that electricity production from coal has fallen to 45% of total electricity generation in the US, from 50%. Fortunately, generation of electricity from natural gas has offset this decline.

As noted in my March 8 article, natural gas is now a target of environmentalists, so we will have to see whether natural gas will be able to offset any future decline in generation of electricity using coal.

The war against coal is preventing new ultra-supercritical coal-fired power plants from being built. These plants generate electricity at low cost and with a minimum of emissions, almost the equal of natural gas.

As noted in a report by Power Magazine, “the period of baseload coal generation leading the world in capacity factor and low cost of production is coming to an end.”

The end of low cost electricity? A needless tragedy.

If low-cost coal production comes to an end, it will mean higher cost electricity for consumers and industry.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 1:31 pm

    I am wondering about Power Magazine’s statement the use of coal world wide is coming to an end. From my reading, China is placing into operation the equivalent to 750 Mega-watts electrical coal-fired power plants weekly. China has big coal reserves and is locking in contracts to buy coal from the United States. India is doing the same.

    Europe and the United States may enact policies to restrict coal use because of misguided ideas carbon dioxide influences climate change. Eastern countries have better sense and will use cheap coal for the majority of their electricity production and increase their advantage to manufactur goods at lower costs. This will cost the United States more jobs. Maybe we could convince Eastern nations to contribute to our Unemployment Compensation funds.

    James H. Rust

    • March 29, 2011 2:27 pm

      China is not only building coal fired power plants, they are building ultra-supercritical, highly efficient coal-fired plants that have very low emissions, (about 20 are under construction).
      You are correct. Our present energy policy is killing jobs. Unless our policies are changed, they will hurt the economy and hinder job growth.

  2. May 25, 2011 11:19 am

    Recently a lot of news has been reported on the Cypress Creek Power Station and I would like everyone to take note that the data for the report by the CBF was based on old data from different plants on old standards that the EPA does not require anymore but makes it even harsher for newer coal plants.

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