The U.S. power sector is a central player in struggle over clean energy. It is responsible for roughly 40 percent of America’s energy use and about 40 percent of its climate pollution.
While a great deal of attention has been paid to how climate legislation might affect the electricity industry, much less has been paid to other drivers of change. In particular, several new and updated regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) portend immense changes — in fact, in the near- to mid-term, they are likely to do more to drive the transition to clean electricity than a climate bill would have.
Despite the enormous environmental and economic stakes, however, neither the regulations nor their likely consequences are well understood by the public. So let’s take a look! What follows is a series of (relatively) brief and (hopefully) accessible posts covering the basics of the power sector and the regulations coming its way.
- A brief overview of the U.S. power sector.
- Why America still has a large fleet of filthy old coal plants with no modern pollution controls.
- The two new EPA rules that most threaten old coal plants.
- The other new EPA rules that could threaten coal plants.
- Coal utilities are telling Congress that disaster looms.
- Despite their protestations, utilities can meet EPA standards without threatening reliability.