Pro-coal council says 204 coal units nationwide in danger of shutting

Results of a new analysis show that 68 coal-based electric generating units in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio are scheduled to be shut down due, at least in part, to regulations issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said a pro-coal group, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

The council on Sept. 18 issued three separate statements on shutdowns in each of the states.

The 16 closures in Virginia represent more than 2,500 MW of capacity, the council said. Results of this new analysis show that 22 coal-based units in Pennsylvania are scheduled to be shut down. The closures in Pennsylvania represent more than 3,500 MW of capacity. There are 30 coal-based units in Ohio are scheduled to be shut down, representing more than 6,600 MW of capacity.

The council doesn’t name utilities, but much of the Virginia capacity would be shut by a unit of Dominion Resources (NYSE: D), with several power generators shutting units in Pennsylvania, like GenOn Energy (NYSE: GEN). Ohio units are being shut by companies like FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) and American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP).

The new analysis shows 204 closing coal units nationally are spread across 25 states and represent 31,000 MW of electric generating capacity. “The national closures are equivalent to shutting down the entire electricity supply of Ohio,” the council noted. “So far, the total number of retirements nationwide is triple the amount of retirements that the EPA had predicted would be caused by its regulations.”

“This is further evidence that EPA is waging a war on coal, and a war on affordable electricity prices and jobs. EPA continues to ignore the damage that its new regulations are causing to the U.S. economy and to states that depend on coal for jobs and affordable electricity,” said Mike Duncan, president and CEO of ACCCE.

According to the analysis, the states with the most coal-fired capacity being prematurely closed are Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. These five states combined have 103 coal units scheduled to be shuttered, representing almost 18,000 MW. Other hard-hit states include Indiana, Colorado and Iowa.

The week of Sept. 17, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the “Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012,” H.R. 3409. The act combines several existing bills that have received bipartisan support in the House and would ensure that EPA regulations are sensible, the council noted.

“Our country needs sound energy and environmental policies, and this bill is a critical step to getting us back on the right track,” said Duncan. “We appreciate the House standing up for America’s coal industry, and the families and businesses that rely on affordable electricity that coal continues to provide.”

The Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012 includes the following bills:

  • H.R. 3409, the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act;
  • H.R. 910, Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011;
  • H.R. 2401, Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act of 2011;
  • H.R. 2273, Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act; and
  • H.R. 2018, Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.