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Study: 65 Percent Of Coal Plants In Danger Of Closure

EPA regulations are putting a strain on older coal plants, including some in Indiana.

New EPA regulations could force the closure of 65 percent of coal plants across the country, A Duke University study shows. That trend can already be seen in Indiana.

Duke Energy officials is planning to close four of its coal processing units at its Wabash River Facility in 2015. They are still deciding whether to transition a fifth unit to a natural gas processor.

Duke Energy Spokesman Lew Middleton says since 1990, Duke has spent about $2.8 billion to upgrade its Indiana facilities so they comply with EPA regulations.

“These units here at Wabash River—units two, three, four and five—are some of the oldest that we have in our system,” Middleton says. “When you do the economic analysis, it just does not make economic sense for us to install the pollution controls that would be necessary to meet the new EPA standards.”

A Duke University study shows EPA regulations, combined with the low price of natural gas, is making many older coal plants economically infeasible.

And while the price natural gas is playing a role, the study emphasizes that even if natural gas were four times as expensive as coal, producing natural gas would still be cheaper than retrofitting an old coal plant.

Citizens Action Coalition Director Kerwin Olson says regardless of the reason, shutting down coal plants is a good thing.

“The environmentally friendly choice, the best choice for public health and the best choice for our economy is transitioning away from coal to renewable energy and energy efficiency,” he says. “There’s an enormous opportunity economically to develop those resources.”

Coal is still the dominate form of energy in Indiana, and officials say that is unlikely to change for many more years.

Gretchen Frazee

Gretchen Frazee is a reporter/producer for WFIU and WTIU news. Prior to her current role, Frazee worked as the associate online content coordinator for WFIU/WTIU. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studied multimedia journalism and anthropology. You can follow her on Twitter @gretchenfrazee.

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  • mbs235

    “Citizens Action Coalition Director Kerwin Olson says regardless of the reason, shutting down coal plants is a good thing.

    “The environmentally friendly choice, the best choice for public health and the best choice for our economy is transitioning away from coal to renewable energy and energy efficiency,” he says. “There’s an enormous opportunity economically to develop those resources.”
    What an idiot. He really doesn’t care, or perhaps does not have the ability to imagine, all of the people being put out of work by these regulations.

  • acyl72

    We are so screwed. This clown will bankrupt all of the morons uneducated enough to have re-elected him.

    However, as the rolling blackouts begin I have a strong suspicion that Washington, DC won’t be one of those areas blacked out. I’m sure we’ll hear something like “it’s for the children or national security blah, blah blah.
    it will be the same for obamacare. They’ll exempt themselves and the rest of of will get to enjoy the “public exchanges”.
    They’ll also exempt themselves from paying taxes, gun control, paying back student loans, insider stock trading, traffic laws. They are the ruling elite and we are the serfs that should be glad to serve them.
    We deserve what we get as a country.

  • gekkobear

    “Citizens Action Coalition Director Kerwin Olson says regardless of the reason, shutting down coal plants is a good thing.”

    And we’ll have blackouts, which must also be a good thing.

    Hospitals will lose power and people will die… hey, even less carbon output as people start dying… again a good thing.

    Hey, almost everything is good… except letting people have power, gas, heat, and electricity… those are bad.

    But people dying in the streets is a VERY GOOD THING. This is something the environmentalists groups hope for…

    Maybe there will be some riots and massive death toll… we can only hope. Those are also “good things”… right?

  • phillyfanatic

    This is entirely the fault of the Obama Admin., its EPA and the Enviro extremists who have brainwashed kids et al plus the media that coal is always dirty. Not true. We have the tech to exploit our huge coal deposits; more than in India. We can do the same with oil, gas and nuclear energy. But these extreme socialists in power and on the university campuses lie about our needs for energy. Green will never run our military. We could use coal, Keystone, offshore gas and oil for hundreds of years plus clean nuclear energy and be independent of OPEC and the Islamofascists but we kow tow to PC baloney and Obama. It is a crime against capitalism and our Republic.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ricardo.cobos Ricardo Cobos

    “If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

    -Candidate Barack Obama, 2008.

    Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/29/obama-kills-coal-as-promised/#ixzz2RZgQjNIJ
    Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter

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  • http://www.facebook.com/langerfour Chuck Langer

    Ship our coal overseas and wait for it to come back in the atmosphere, makes sense. Then wonder why we are having trouble competing with china. If you truly believe in these restrictions, any goods imported should have to meet the same restrictions.

  • tex

    You’re obviously an African American lobbyist for the coal coalition, right? Did you look at the coal-powered energy plant behind that spokesman for Duke?

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