According to a new report made public by economists working with the Brattle Group, the air quality standards that the US Environmental Protection Agency wishes to see become a reality stand to force quite a lot of the country's coal power plants to retire.
This is because their working agenda would simply be unable to keep up with the new legislation.
As the people who looked into this issue explain, odds are that, over the following five years, the US could be left without 59,000 – 77,000MW of coal power generating capacity.
Although it may be true that coal power is something most environmentalists frown upon, the fact remains that the energy industry relied heavily on it in order to stay afloat.
Therefore, having this many coal plants simply go out of businesses could up electricity prices.
Apparently, these new air quality regulations stand to first and foremost impact on small-scale, privately owned companies, primarily because the people running them will not have sufficient money so as to green-up their energy generating facilities.
Although other reports have already pointed towards this issue, specialist Frank Grave, who co-authored this study, wished to emphasize
the fact that, “Our analysis indicated that future coal retirements will be a bit more than double the level announced to date. The impacts will be modest over large areas, but more acute locally, especially for owners of smaller fleets that are predominantly coal-based.”
However, it seems that this spike in electricity prices will not be drastic enough to lead to these coal power plants being once again made to function.
Commenting on this aspect, Frank Grave made a case of how, “Everything else being equal, this amount of retirement will be enough to increase prices in both electric and gas markets for a few years, but we do not envision that impact to be large or persistent enough to alter retirement decisions.”