EPA Finalizes Rollback of Obama-Era Power Plant Emission Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 19 finalized its long-awaited carbon emission rules for the nation’s power sector, replacing more stringent Obama-era restrictions. The agency described the “Affordable Clean Energy Rule” as an effort to provide existing coal power plants with “achievable and realistic standards” to cut emissions. The rule allows states the flexibility to…

Trump Administration’s Court-Ordered Analysis of Wyoming Coal Leases Finds No Climate Impacts

The Bureau of Land Management issued a revised environmental review for four major coal leases in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, finding that they would not have significant impacts beyond those already disclosed, according to a June 3 news release. The review responds to a 2017 court order, which ruled that the agency’s original analysis did…

Trump Administration Pushes to Resume Federal Coal Leasing With Favorable Draft Review

The Bureau of Land Management on May 22 issued a draft environmental review finding that lifting an Obama-era moratorium on federal coal leasing would not change the cumulative greenhouse gas emissions compared to waiting for the pause to expire. The move responds to a court ruling issued last month, finding that former Interior Secretary Ryan…

Xcel Energy’s Upper Midwest Plan Seeks to Add 3 Gigawatts of Solar, Phase Out Coal by 2030

Xcel Energy Inc. plans to retire its last two coal power plants in Minnesota by 2030, a decade earlier than scheduled, while extending operations of its Monticello nuclear plant until at least 2040, according to a May 20 announcement. The closures are part of the company’s integrated resource plan, which will be filed with the…

Coal-Fired Plants to Generate 13 Percent Less Power This Summer Amid Rise in Natural Gas, Renewables: EIA

U.S. power plants are projected to generate 2 percent less power during the summer months of 2019 compared to last year due to changes in the mix of energy sources, according to a May 9 report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Coal is forecast to supply 25 percent of generation this summer, down from…

New York Adopts Emission Standards to Phase Out Coal Plants Next Year

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo on May 9 announced that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation established regulations requiring all the power plants in the state to meet new emission limits for carbon dioxide. No existing coal-fired sources are expected to continue beyond 2020 under the new rule, as emissions control technology needed for…

U.S. Produces Record Amount of Energy From All Sources Except Coal: EIA

The United States produced a record amount of energy from various sources in 2018, reaching 96 quadrillion British thermal units, 8 percent higher than in the previous year, according to the Energy Information Administration’s latest Monthly Energy Review. While fossil fuels like crude oil and natural gas saw increases of 17 and 12 percent respectively…

EnerKnol’s Visual Primer – Coal, Nuclear-Heavy States Are Rushing to Renewables as Retirements Pile Up

Regions across the U.S. that have long served as strongholds for conventional, non-renewable generating capacity — from Georgia and Michigan to Tennessee — are now starting to accelerate the phase out of the legacy assets in favor of sourcing power from wind and solar, showing just how far-reaching the shift to renewables is spreading.

U.S. Energy Department to Invest $190 Million in Advanced Technologies to Bolster Coal-Fired Generation

The U.S. Energy Department on April 11 announced up to about $100 million for research projects under its “Coal FIRST” initiative, which aims to develop modular coal-based power plants built with advanced methods to meet the requirements of the evolving electric grid. The agency will also invest up to $87 million in innovative coal technologies…

Idaho Power Seeks Rate Bump to Finance Coal Plant Retirement

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is taking comments on a proposal by Idaho Power for a uniform increase to all base rates of 0.11 percent in order to finance the retirement of the North Valmy generating station, a two-unit coal-fired power plant with a capacity of 522 megawatts. The utility’s proposal calls for additional retirement costs to be…

U.S. Coal Exports Boom Amid Weakening Domestic Market: EIA

Strong international demand, particularly in Asia, has provided relief for U.S. coal producers reeling from the effects of the shale revolution, which has led to national coal consumption declining every year since 2008, according to the Energy Information Administration. The agency reports that U.S. coal exports reached 116 million short tons (MMst) in 2018, the highest level…