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EPA Regulations to Cost Economy up to $275bn

Current and pending EPA power plant regulations could cost the US economy up to $275 billion between 2010 and 2035 if the regulatory timeline is followed, according to updated findings from the Electric Power Research Institute.

However, power companies could save the economy about $100 billion over that same time period if the EPA were to make regulations more flexible, the EPRI said.

The findings were part of the EPRI’s “The Value of Innovation in Environmental Controls,” an expanded strategic analysis of key technology, market and policy uncertainties confronting the existing US coal-based generation fleet over the next few decades, including proposed regulations and the long-term price of natural gas.

The analysis, which updates preliminary finding released by EPRI in May, suggests giving power plants some flexibility and more time to meet regulations would achieve the same level of environmental compliance while reducing the financial burden on utilities.

The summary report describes three scenarios for current, proposed and potential regulations and estimates control technology costs on a unit-by-unit basis for each of the country’s 1,100 coal-fired units, which generate an estimated 317 GW.

Coal-based power plants must comply with the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards by 2015. The EPA also has proposed regulations that would reduce the amount of water used to cool generating facilities and regulate how coal ash is stored.

Under the current or reference case scenario, about 227 GW of existing coal-fired capacity would remain financially viable and up to 57 GW would either be retired or converted to another fuel source. The continued operation of the remaining 28 GW of generating capacity would be in question.

Under the EPRI’s flexible solution, 288 GW of coal generation could remain in operation and about 36 GW would be retired or changed to burn different fuels.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released an analysis last month that said more than 200 coal-based generating plants are scheduled to shut down in the next three to five years, representing 31,000 MW of electric generating capacity, due in part to regulations issued by the EPA.

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6 thoughts on “EPA Regulations to Cost Economy up to $275bn

  1. There is no mention of how the savings in health costs far outweigh the cost mentioned. Or the savings to children who will not suffer from neurological disorders caused by the mercury.

    We can all agree that this is dishonest reporting.

  2. The EPA tightens its standards every year, expands its reach and authority, and requires more staff and more funding annually; mostly unconstitutionally for those who still understand America’s republic. It has become a bloated bureaucracy promoting its own welfare and authority and using dubious science that is often one sided or not even peer reviewed. The loss of cheap energy will kill more children than the development of clean energy will save. Be careful what you wish for.

  3. A) The science that EPA relies on is not ‘dubious’. And it is virtually all peer reviewed. Furthermore, it is not ‘one sided’; it is simply the case that the vast majority of evidence collected over the past few decades by researchers all over the world, support the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change (ACC).

    B) It is the responsibility of the EPA to tighten standards whenever the scientific evidence supports doing so – as it clearly does in the case of ACC.

    C) There is nothing unconstitutional about the existence, purpose, or funding of the EPA. The EPA, like other agencies, was created and is funded by politicians whom we elect. If we don’t like their decisions, we are always free to elect someone else. That is the constitutional basis and justification for the EPA.

    D) Switching to green energy does not imply any loss of cheap energy. Wind energy, for example, is already cheaper than coal and is nearly on a par with natural gas. Wind installations have provided about 35% of the annual energy capacity increases in this country over the past 5 years or so – mainly because it is cheap in comparison to the traditional fossil fuel alternatives. And solar is also nearly on par with fossil alternatives in many parts of the country – and solar costs continue to drop like a rock. No children, or anyone else, is in danger of dying from a switch to green energy – what a crock. On the other hand, it is very true that fossil energy carries a hefty health cost to children and to everyone – even to the point of contributing to millions of needless deaths annually.

  4. Furthermore, the scientific evidence used by the EPA to tighten standards on mercury and other toxic components resulting from the burning of fossil fuel; are likewise peer reviewed and stand on solid scientific grounds.

  5. So what do you do when there is no wind and no sunlight? People that think we can run this country off of strictly off of wind and solar energy will be in for a rude awakening when there are no longer fossil powered plants around. Health won’t matter at that point because this country will be impoverished with the loss of jobs and the extreme costs for energy. I guess we could always get a transmission line from China so that we can just import our power like we do everything else.

  6. The CAA & CWA (clean air & water act) most current version, 1990 , has had the infractions and guidelines to repair and update equipment to the best possible technology to reduce pollution. This has always until now, been on a voluntary basis. After 22 years and hundreds and hundreds repeated violations (without authority to enforce) only 18% of the coal-fired generation fleet partisipated. The EPA was given the authority (about time) to mandate a compliance to (parts) the CAA & CWA to at least those that affect human health ( the death, heart & lung decease (see american heart and american lung assn.) & disconcearned environmental violations) that is destroying the air we breath,and waters life giving properties to both humans and aquatic life. The supreme court ruled that our Life , Liberty and the Persuit of Happiness was being endangered and ok’d the EPA to enforce the CAA & CWA by mandate. The non-compliant 82% will now have until 2015 to comply, giving overall a 1/4 of a century…LONG ENOUGH!!!! And the $275B dollars added to the US economy.? Do you remember Erin Brokavich ?

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