Coal / FirstEnergy

Market factors, not the EPA drive coal-fired power plant closures

WEST VIRGINIA — “A study released Thursday points primarily to market factors, not environmental regulation as the driving force behind coal plant closures.

While environmental regulations have received the bulk of attention when it comes time to close a coal-fired plant, closure are generally known to be a result of multiple factors. A new study conducted by Susan Tierney managing principal at the Analysis group, an economic, financial and strategy consultant group, finds market factors, not the Environmental Protection Agency, have driven coal plant closures.

Tierney also served as assistant energy secretary during the Clinton administration.

‘Putting aside the political context of the current debate, a closer examination of the facts reveals that the recent retirement announcements are part of a longer‐term trend that has been affecting both existing coal plants and many proposals to build new ones,’ Tierney wrote. ‘The sharp decline in natural gas prices, the rising cost of coal and reduced demand for electricity are all contributing factors in the decisions to retire some of the country’s oldest coal‐fired generating units. These trends started well before EPA issued its new air pollution rules.’”

— Taylor Kuykendall, The State Journal

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