Global environmental challenges
A bad week for U.S. coal projects
The industry suffered its second blow of the week on Friday with the cancellation of a plant in Michigan. The move by power plant developer LS Power marks the ninth such plant to be dropped in the United States so far this year, according to a count by environmental group the Sierra Club.
The company blamed regulatory uncertainty and the weak economy for the cancellation, which environmentalists cheered because coal-fired power plants are responsible for more than 30 percent of the United States’ global warming emissions.
The Michigan plant cancellation wasn’t the first blow to coal this week, either. On Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency withdrew a permit for a massive coal-fired plant in New Mexico that would have been built on an Indian reservation.
The announcements came within two weeks after the Obama administration opened the way to regulating greenhouse gas emissions by declaring them a danger to human health.
Mandated limits on greenhouse gases, which the U.S. could adopt as early as this year, are certain to deal a further blow to new coal-fired plants. The U.S. Department of Energy’s statistical arm, however, expects coal to provide the largest share of U.S. electric generation for years to come, making up 47 percent of the nation’s power generation in 2030.
What do you think is the future of coal-fired power in the United States?
Photo credit: Reuters/Staff Photographer (Southern Company’s Plant Bowen in Cartersville, Georgia, one of the biggest coal-fired plants in the United States)