United States coal plant retirements between 2014 and 2040 will more than double to 90 gigawatts as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, according to analysis by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
“Most of the power plant retirements would happen by 2020, when the first requirements for emissions reductions begin,” E&E Publishing reports. “EIA says the proposed rule would require ‘significant investment’ to handle rapidly growing supplies of wind, solar, and other renewable sources of energy, including for transmission lines and other electric grid infrastructure.”
Those investments, coupled with increased use of natural gas, would raise electricity prices 4.9% above baseline trends by 2020.
“EIA’s report is arguably the most official analysis of the Clean Power Plan’s grid impacts yet, although it includes many caveats,” Holden, Juliano, and Quiñones write. “The analysis shows the rule would shift generation away from base load coal, nuclear and hydropower, which are located onsite, toward natural gas, which requires real-time fuel delivery, and renewables, which are intermittent.”