A Bailout For Coal Clunkers?

coal conesville tbi

ageing coal-fired power plants — often some of the worst polluters — may paradoxically be leaned on more heavily if cap-and-trade legislation becomes law.

The legacy plants — some of them in the centre of big cities — were given exemptions under the Clean Air Act more than 30 years ago and haven’t kept up on emission-controlling technology. Still, they could be around for a while.

Washington Post: Advocates hope the climate-control legislation pending in Congress would force these plants to close. But they also warn that, depending how various aspects of the bill play out, it could instead motivate companies to increase their reliance on archaic plants.

If a climate-change bill drives up the cost of opening new plants, but provides free emissions allowances or potential carbon offsets for existing facilities, companies could have an incentive to squeeze even more power out of their old plants, many of which are running well below capacity.

Some environmental groups are urging the Senate to include in its version of the legislation provisions to prevent that. But the legislation passed by the House in late June — known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act — mandates a 50 per cent carbon reduction by 2025 for new plants, but puts no site-specific carbon-reduction requirements on existing facilities. Read the whole thing >

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