It’s time for my annual preview for the year ahead.
As I discussed last year at this time, I did not think the Clean Power Plan (CPP) was likely to survive. As a reminder, the CPP basically called for states to shut down their coal (and some gas) plants, many of which have many years of useful life left. Since most of these existing investments have not been paid off yet, the bill for adding more energy plants (that emit less carbon dioxide) before the current ones are paid for would fall on us, the rate payers. The cost to rate payers was projected to be many billions of dollars. Today, the Trump administration is still dismantling the CPP and the courts will be weighing in sometime in 2018. In the end, we will likely get a watered down version of CPP or no CPP at all. But CPP’s demise isn’t likely to save the coal industry. As older coal plants come to the end of their useful lives, they are not being replaced by newer coal plants; instead, we are seeing more gas, solar, and wind generation each year.
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