Coal, Executive Insight, Generation

Coal producers fuming over proposed EPA rules

Miners, consumers and generators that traffic in coal are saying their sector of the energy business is the one with the most to lose from new Environmental Protection Agency rules.

The EPA‘s draft rule to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions of future power plants could, according to coal producers, make coal-fired power generation cost ineffective to the point of disappearing from the market. Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the proposal September 20.

Coal mining and processing company Arch Coal said in a statement that the technology required to capture carbon is simply not feasible yet — although it might be in time.

“The administration’s proposal goes way too far, way too fast ­— and threatens to arrest rather than spur technology advances.  With the world’s fastest growing economies continuing to build their economies on coal, it makes no sense for the United States — which possesses the world’s largest coal reserves — to erect barrier after barrier to coal use,” according to a statement from Arch Coal. “In doing so, we are ensuring America higher power prices, lower economic growth and reduced international competitiveness — and effectively foreclosing on our ability to use this affordable, secure and reliable fuel in the future.”

The Pennsylvania Coal Alliance said the new source standards would effectively constitute a ban on coal power, according to a statement.

“These standards effectively ban construction of new, efficient coal-fueled power plants that greatly reduce emissions through the use of clean-coal technology. This will force a reliable, affordable, domestically produced fuel source out of the energy mix, causing dire economic consequences across all sectors of the economy, with little or no environmental improvement to show for it,” according to the Alliance.

Peabody Energy said the EPA’s proposed rules, if advanced, would cause consumers’ power bills to skyrocket over time and cause more pain “at the plug” than Americans have experienced at the pump.

Carbon capture and storage technology is simply not commercially available and not able to satisfy America’s need for low-cost electricity.  Advanced supercritical generation is the best technology available today, and the standard that EPA should follow,” according to Peabody Energy.

Peabody Energy said EPA’s plan is outside the realm of the law, fails to protect the American consumer and will hurt electric reliability.