Arlington, Va. (June
2012) - Coal-fired power plants are at a crossroads, according to a
Bloomberg BNA analysis looking at the future of coal as a source of energy that appears as
a five-part series in Daily Environment Report June 25-29.
Electric utilities are facing economic and regulatory pressures that make it
nearly impossible for some of the oldest coal plants to continue operating, and
it remains an open question whether any new coal-fired units will be built,
Bloomberg BNA reports.
The pressure is coming from the domestic boom in
low-cost natural gas tied to hydraulic fracturing and from a series of
environmental regulations that will require coal-fired utilities to make
substantial investments in pollution controls.
The series, which also
will run in Daily Report for Executives, World Climate Change
Report, and Environment Reporter, looks at the state of
coal-fired power plants, the economic and regulatory influences on the power
sector, and the future for coal.
Monday: Low natural gas
prices are putting pressure on coal-fired plants to retire, and the trend is
accelerating due to EPA rules.
Tuesday: Natural gas
plants are expected to increase their contribution to the energy mix, as older
coal-fired plants retire, and utilities face the prospect of installing
expensive controls at plants that remain.
Limitations of current technology will make it nearly impossible for new
coal-fired power plants to meet EPA's mercury and air toxics standards and the
proposed greenhouse gas standards, experts say.
Thursday: A battle is brewing in the Pacific Northwest
between community and environmental groups and coal companies eager to
capitalize on Asia's hunger for energy.
Friday: If there
is a true bright spot for coal in the future, it lies in Asia, where U.S.
forecasters estimate that China's coal use for power generation will more than
double by 2035.
The series was reported and written by Bloomberg BNA
staff reporters Andrew Childers and Jessica Coomes, staff correspondent Paul
Shukovsky in Seattle, and special correspondents Michael Standaert in Shenzhen,
China, and Madhur Singh in New Delhi. It is available directly from Bloomberg
BNA and on the Bloomberg Law legal research system and Bloomberg Professional
# # #
About Bloomberg BNA
BNA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bloomberg, is a leading source of legal,
regulatory, and business information for professionals. Its network of more than
2,500 reporters, correspondents, and leading practitioners delivers expert
analysis, news, practice tools, and guidance - the information that matters most
to professionals. Bloomberg BNA's authoritative coverage spans the full range
of legal practice areas, including tax & accounting, labor & employment,
intellectual property, banking & securities, employee benefits, health care,
privacy & data security, human resources, and environment, health &