North America Power: Coal Still in the Crosshairs
Coal’s dominance of the North American power generation portfolio is being threatened by a barrage of converging forces. Overall sluggish electric power demand growth has followed very large declines in loads precipitated by the Great Recession and an anemic economic recovery.
The promise of new shale gas supply has been kept, pushing natural gas prices to new lows relative to recent history concurrently with an apparently endless chain of policy initiatives by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to impose stringent environmental regulations primarily affecting coal-fired generators.
Cumulatively, these forces have already led plant owners to make plans to retire over 38 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired generating assets in the coming years. More will follow, the extent of which will be determined by the outlook for future load growth, natural gas prices, and court rulings in ongoing litigation surrounding EPA environmental rules.
History suggests a long, tedious fight through the courts as many prior EPA rules failed to adhere to key restrictions and obligations under the Clean Air Act (CAA). This uncertainty looms large for coal-fired plants, when it comes to premature retirements. After coal plants fell into the crosshairs a few years ago, the target is now coming into focus. Will the aim be true?
In this North American Power Insight, Wood Mackenzie provides an in depth analysis of the core issues facing coal generators in North America focusing on:
• Regulatory drivers for retirements including emission reduction policy initiatives;
• Coal-fired power plant economics given emission control retrofit options; and
• A forecast of coal-fired plant retirements with implications for North American power markets.
Please click on the "Register Your Interest" button above for a copy of the full report.
Clients with access to the North America Power Service can access the report through the client portal. You may be asked for your login details if you are not already logged in.
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