How will greenhouse gas emission regulations affect Illinois’ coal-fueled power plants?
The federal regulations will come out in June, and they’ll take effect in 2016. Doug Scott, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, says the standards can be met, but it’ll be tougher than meeting regulations that reduced other pollutants.
“What that means is you may have a lot more plant shutdowns, and if you have more plant shutdowns, what does that do to the reliability of electricity for us, not just here but all over the country? Frankly, a lot of places are in a lot worse shape than Illinois is in terms of complying with this,” he said.
Illinois is about evenly balanced now between coal- and nuclear-generated electricity, with wind and natural gas playing a minor role.
It will be up to individual states to establish compliance plans. Scott says Illinois is working with other states to determine whether cooperation will be beneficial.
Scott says it’ll be easier for Illinois to comply if the state is given credit for energy efficiency steps taken since 2005. Other factors to watch for: The success of carbon-capture technology, which is still on track to be tested at a power plant in Meredosia, and the fact that the price is falling for electricity from renewable sources, such as wind, solar and geo-thermal.