February 13, 2023

US Coal Power Refuses to Die. What that Means for Climate.

Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Over the next few months, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release new rules that could trigger a string of new coal plant retirements.

Even so, the upcoming changes won’t push US coal into extinction, which could make President Joe Biden’s 2030 climate goals harder to meet, reports E&E News. While market conditions and environmental regulations have stripped coal of its dominance over the last 15 years, most projections show it occupying a sliver of the market beyond the next decade.

“Coal has been on its way out for the last decade or two,” said Brian Murray, interim Nicholas Institute director. “And I don’t see that reversing. I just don’t know that I see it going to zero as quickly as seven years from now.”

Climate funding in the Inflation Reduction Act will bring more wind and solar power online, but that will replace future gas plant expansion, Murray said. The new EPA rules have more potential to quicken the pace of coal plant retirements, he added.