This in-depth PV Magazine article looks at the newly released Trump plan for loosening regulations on coal plants put into place the Obama administration. Jeff Dennis, Advanced Energy Economy’s General Counsel for Regulatory Affairs, is quoted multiple times. Link to the full article here. Excerpts below:
No one should be surprised that Andrew Wheeler, the former coal lobbyist who U.S. President Donald Trump put in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has issued what may be the weakest possible solution to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2o17 ruling that EPA must regulate greenhouse gas emissions.
Unlike the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), the “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) plan issued this morning will not compel states to switch from coal-fired generation to other resources including national gas and renewable energy. Instead, it calls for changes to coal-fired power plants including operating them in a more efficient manner and potentially upgrading equipment.
“All the trends are that we are seeing new demand for and investment in renewable energy, energy storage and distributed energy resources,” Advanced Energy Economy’s General Counsel for Regulatory Affairs Jeff Dennis told PV magazine. “One of the flaws in this rule is that it tends to ignore those trends
Stalling the end of coal
The U.S. coal sector is dying. 37 GW of coal plants were taken offline between 2010 and the end of 2015, and new ones are not being built. The boom in low-cost natural gas extracted from shale using hydraulic fracturing was killing the nation’s aging coal fleet well before more recent declines in price and increased deployment of solar and wind.
More than anything, ACE appears to be a stalling tactic by President Trump’s EPA, which is tasked with complying with a court ruling that runs directly counter to its interest in propping up the coal industry and lack of interest in taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“It does stretch out that timeline with how there has to be compliance,” notes AEE’s Jeff Dennis.
Link to the full PVM article here.