Regulations proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency could mean up to 40 GW of additional coal fired power capacity is retired over the next two decades says consultancy ICF International in its third quarter Energy Outlook. This is significantly less than it predicted in its first quarter report reports Platts.

In the consultancy’s first quarter report, 68 GW of coal fired plant retirements was forecast to occur over the same period based on a series of expected regulations.

According to Platts, the latest report bases its estimate of impact by taking into account the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, the Utility MACT, coal combustion residuals rule, a cooling water intake rule and a future CO2 rule.

ICF’s new prediction falls below those forecasted by other analysts and industry insiders, such as the Edison Electric Institute and Energy Ventures Analysis.


“I think everybody’s projections are evolving as the regulations change and as we learn about what will be contained in the forthcoming regulations,” said John Blaney, ICF’s managing director.

If those retirements already announced to date are included, the report says the figure rises to 50 GW.

Another, new finding is that the coal plant retirements will not affect coal consumption by utilities as much as previously thought.

“It’s a couple of things,” Blaney said. “First, most of the retirements are among smaller and older [plants] that are already running at lower capacity factors, so they’ll have proportionally less of an impact on demand than expected. And some of the existing plants will ramp up to meet extra demand.”

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