"Across the industry, old plants like this one are closing under the weight of a broad range of federal regulations and under competitive pressure from natural gas and renewables," Cushman writes. (InsideClimate News map)
"At the Asheville plant, Duke said, the links between various pollution targets were plain," Cushman writes. "As gas and solar replace coal there, sulfur dioxide emissions, which environmentalists had complained were hitting unhealthy levels, would go down 90 to 95 percent; nitrogen oxides down 35 percent. Mercury pollution, being regulated for the first time this year, would drop to zero. Water withdrawn from nearby Lake Julian, for cooling, would go down 97 percent, and water discharges would drop 50 percent."
Government estimates say that the carbon dioxide regulations could lead to the closure of an additional 50 gigawatts of coal fired capacity in the next decade, on top of 40 gigawatts that would be expected to close without new controls on carbon, Cushman writes.