Power Plants Brace for New EPA Rules Adding to Coal Woes - Bloomberg
“Coal plants account for a shocking amount of our water pollution,” Mary Anne Hitt, director for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, said in an interview. As utilities remove toxic chemicals such as mercury from their smokestacks, those pollutants is ending up in water waste, she said.
Depending on changes demanded by the EPA, it could require millions of dollars in spending to upgrade individual plants, company lobbyists said in a document provided at a meeting with White House officials last month and posted on the website of the Office of Management and Budget.
Coal is under mounting pressure from cheap natural gas, tougher federal pollution standards and state-level energy efficiency requirements. The Sierra Club’s coal campaign in early March said more than 142 plants has been closed. American Electric Power (AEP) Co. in February said it would shut three plants. The Russell 300 Coal Index (RGUSECO) of nine U.S. producers has tumbled 35 percent in the past year.
The effluent proposal scheduled for release this week could affect disposal of both coal ash, what remains after coal is burned, and the scrubber sludge, which are particles pulled out of the plant’s smokestack in order to meet air-emission rules. Those scrubber wastewaters generally contain significant levels of metals, including arsenic, mercury, and selenium, according to an EPA study.
If the EPA mandates the use of dry-ash handling, it would mean “significant conversion costs” for plants not now using it, Hugh Wynn, a utility analyst for Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., said in a research note April 8. Wynn said independent power producer Dynegy could be among the most affected by the change.
The new Obama EPA Director - Gina McCarthy - is in confirmation hearing now and said that the EPA will be flexible working with coal fired power plants.
Last month there was an article in the Washington Post about Obama briefing his green supporters that EPA coal regulations will need to be delayed because of harm to the economy.
There are about 500 small coal powerplants in the US over 50 years old. Many small old powerplants need to be closed because they are too expensive to maintain. By 2020 about 5 - 8% of existing coal powerplant capacity could be closed. 2 or 3 large new powerplants with clean coal technology could replace all this capacity.
Coal will continue to be the primary source of US electricity for many years with 2013 coal generating about 40% of US electricity.
"Coal will continue to be the primary source of US electricity for many years with 2013 coal generating about 40% of US electricity."
For many years? how many? 3, 5? Coal will not be the primary source by year end 2017. Why? 2 reasons. The cost to extract and deliver coal is increasing , and renewable mandates. In order for wind and solar to a lesser degree to work with the grid, we need a flexible baseload power gen - coal and nuke can't change like NG gen can to allow for those dynamic renewable s....
Fracking is already under attach - as it should be. We need strict national full cycle pollution regulations for all energy feedstocks to truly have efficient markets. For NG, stricter fracking reg's will lower US production which will be good for prices.
Coal plants account for a shocking amount of our water pollution,” Mary Anne Hitt, director for the Sierra Club."""
And the Sierra Club accounts for a preponderance of our Air Pollution.
Along with Coal they despise Oil, after that Natural Gas. They find all fossil fuels despicable.
The best solution to pollution would be for the environazis to Save The World by moving back in with their fellow Troglodytes.