Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Arizona power plants affected by greenhouse gas ruling?

A decision by the Environmental Appeals Board effectively halts all new coal-fired power plants, at least until EPA comes up with a nationwide plan for regulating greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. The Board sent back an appeal to EPA on permitting for a coal-fired power plant in the Uinta Basin in Utah that is still being analyzed. But first reports are that 100 new plants are on hold across the country.

The expectations are that new greenhouse gases regulations will make coal power more expensive, resulting in renewable and alternative energy sources (including geothermal) more competitive.

There are coal-fired plants proposed in New Mexico, Utah, and Nevada, but the last one proposed in Arizona, the Bowie power station [right, construction photo 11-14-08. Credit SoutWestern Power Group] was redesigned to burn natural gas as its fuel after opposition rose over using coal. My sense is that the ruling does not affect the 400-MW Springerville power plant under construction now in eastern Arizona.

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