EPA Plans to Close Coal Power Plants Point to Big Problems Ahead

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By Christopher Hopkins, Senior Vice President for Aggregates and Mining

The Saint Consulting Group

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to force the shutdown of up to 66 coal fired power plants over the next three years, totaling 14.7 gigawatts or enough electricity to power over 22 million homes.

As a Huffington Post article explains, the problem is that during that same period, only 23 power plants at most going on line to replace them. Currently 11 power plants are under construction, one is near construction and an additional 11 have been permitted for construction. Of these 11, there is no guarantee that they will be constructed. The cost of building a power plant has more than doubled in recent years due in large part to new regulations that have to be complied with.

The irony is that environmental activists who oppose the newer cleaner compliant power plants are delaying them and making the United States rely more on the outdated dirtier power plants.

Now that these plants are being retired, and not nearly enough plants are coming on line to replace their output, what is next?  It appears the coal opponents are pressing the EPA to decommission the older plants while protesting and delaying the construction of the new plants to replace them. Their goal is to eliminate coal usage 100 percent.

What is their answer to this dilemma?  I mean in the spirit of the season, you cannot use wind turbines as Frosty’s eyes can you?

Chris Hopkins is senior vice president for aggregates and mining for The Saint Consulting Group, email hopkins@tscg.biz

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