The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) updated a report that said electricity prices may increase as more coal-fired power plants are shut down due to regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
GAO first reported in July 2012 that companies would retire between 2 to 12 percent of coal-fired capacity. However, the updated report said about 13 percent of coal-fired capacity, or 42,192 MW, has either been retired since 2012 or is planned for retirement by 2025. The units that have already retired are generally smaller, older, more polluting and not used extensively.
The capacity retirements are concentrated in four states: Ohio (14 percent), Pennsylvania (11 percent), Kentucky (7 percent), and West Virginia (6 percent).
GAO’s report also identified about 70 GW of generating capacity that has either completed a retrofit to reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or particulate matter since 2012, or plan to complete one by 2025, less than the estimate of 102 GW reported in 2012.
GAO recommended in 2012 – and continues to recommend - that the U.S. Energy Department, the EPA and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission need to document a formal, joint process to monitor the industry’s progress responding to finalized and proposed emissions regulations.
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