Planned coal plant closings to have minimal emissions impact


The coal power plant industry is planning to retire more than 10 percent of its generators in the next 10 years, but it will only minimally reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The industry is planning to retire 140 units, but most of them are small and old, and they accounted for only 4 percent of carbon emissions from power plants last year, USA Today reported Monday.

None of the units slated for retirement is among the top 100 coal plants in terms of carbon emissions and only 12 of them are within the top 10 percent of carbon polluters, USA Today said, based on its own analysis of federal data.

The analysis came shortly after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced proposed new limits on carbon emissions from power plants. It shows that simply retiring plants on the planned schedule would not achieve the 30 percent reduction in emissions EPA is seeking.

EPA predicted that coal would account for 27 percent less of the nation’s power in 2020 than it currently does, with a 35 percent reduction just in Appalachia, USA Today said. That is twice the reduction EPA expected without the rule.

The coal industry would lose 35,000 to 38,000 full-time jobs by 2030 in under the rule, but 100,000 new ones could be created in energy efficiency positions, EPA said.