Fairfax, Va., January 7, 2011 — ICF International, a provider of consulting services and technology solutions to government and commercial clients, has released its Integrated Energy Outlook for the fourth quarter 2010.
The outlook projects that nearly one-fifth of the U.S. coal fleet could retire in response to new air, waste and water regulations over the next 10 years.
The outlook includes an in-depth integrated assessment of five interrelated energy markets: emissions, gas, coal, renewable energy and power.
The projections are based on ICF's current views on expected Maximum Available Control Technology (MACT) standards for hazardous air pollutants, implementation of the Clean Air Transport Rule, and assumed requirements for water intake and coal combustion waste management.
* Exports will play an increasingly important role in U.S. coal markets, but Central Appalachian coal production will decline because of increased safety and regulatory scrutiny; Northern Appalachian and Illinois Basin coal production will increase as exports continue to expand and more coal plants are retrofitted with scrubbers.
* Shale gas production is a game-changer for the North American natural gas market, reducing costs and increasing the rate of growth in gas supplies.
* Natural gas price volatility will likely persist over the next several years as gas supply and demand struggle to find a new balancing point.
* Rising renewables mandates in PJM, California and New England along with the loss of key federal incentives should boost renewable energy credit prices through the end of the decade.
* The limited cap and trade program for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides envisioned in EPA's proposed Transport Rule will require costly compliance measures in some states but little change in others.