New Regulations Represent Challenge for Future Coal Power Generation in US
Keywords: EPA, Regulations, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Environmental Regulations, Coal, Coal-Fired Power Generation, Utilities, Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS).
Power plants and other industries are dumping tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. In the US, coal-fired power plants are the biggest contributor, accounting for approximately 32.5 percent of the country's total CO2 emissions.
In an effort to limit CO2 emissions from power plants, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new regulation that requires new coal-fired plants to meet the emission limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour and large natural gas-fired turbines to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. To meet this challenging limit, coal-fired plants will have to implement a relatively new technology called carbon capture and storage (CCS).
CCS technology is very expensive and has not yet demonstrated its suitability for power plants. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average cost of generating electricity from a coal-fired plant with CCS technology is 76 percent higher than from a plant without CCS. As a result, it is highly likely that rather than pushing power companies to implement the CCS technology in coal plants, the new law will push them away from coal altogether.
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