EIA: Without Clean Power Plan, coal will regain top spot in generation mix
It was big news, albeit long-predicted, when last year natural gas took over as the nation’s top generating fuel. Lower gas prices played a role, as did environmental policies aimed at lowering and greenhouse gas emissions.
Obama’s Clean Power Plan took aim at coal plant pollution by designating heat rate improvements for the plants many in the power industry complained were impossible. If it is implemented, coal generation is expected to decline steadily through the 2030s.
But if the Trump administration is successful in repealing them or halting implementation, “there is less incentive to switch from carbon-intensive coal to less carbon-intensive natural gas or carbon-free fuels such as wind and solar,” EIA said in a note published this week based on the findings of its Annual Energy Outlook.
A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered implementation of the Clean Power Plan be delayed until legal challenges to the regulation have played out.
It is now being considered by the D.C. Circuit Court, but the White House is expected to repeal or halt the regulation even if it is upheld.