Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Retiring 140 coal-fired generators in Midwest and South will do little to cut carbon-dioxide emissions

Retiring 140 coal-fired electricity generators within a decade will have little impact on the Obama administration's proposal to cut carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants 30 percent by 2030 based on emission levels in 2005. The generators, which are mostly small, old units in Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Alabama and West Virginia, "account for only 4 percent of all CO2 emitted last year by U.S. power plants," Wendy Koch and John Kelly report for USA Today. "In fact, not one ranks among the top 100 units for carbon emissions, and only 12 are among the 475 units that comprise the top 10 percent of emitters, according to a review of 2013 federal data."

That means more coal-fired plants will need to close, Koch and Kelly write. "Yet the nation's biggest coal plants, typically its largest CO2 emitters, are unlikely to be closed anytime soon because 'there just isn't a cost-effective replacement yet,' says Jeffrey Holmstead, a lobbyist for coal-fired power plants at the Bracewell & Giuliani law firm in Washington."

"The top 100 emitters—all coal—account for only 2 percent of generating units but 25 percent of total plant emissions. They are located predominantly in five states. Texas has the most, 19, followed by Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Alabama and Georgia," Koch and Kelly write. "The top 10 percent of emitters, which include 475 generating units that are mostly coal-fired, account for a much bigger share of carbon released from power plants—69 percent." (Read more)

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