EPA Regulations and Electricity: Update on Agencies' Monitoring Efforts and Coal-Fueled Generating Unit Retirements, Report to the Ranking Member, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Senate [open pdf - 3MB]
From the Highlights: "EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] recently proposed or finalized four regulations affecting coal-fueled electricity generating units, which provide about 37 percent of the nation's electricity supply. These regulations are the: (1) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule; (2) Mercury and Air Toxics Standards; (3) Cooling Water Intake Structures regulation; and (4) Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals regulation. In 2012, GAO [Government Accountability Office] reported that, in response to these regulations and other factors such as low natural gas prices, companies might retire or retrofit some units. GAO reported that these actions may increase electricity prices and, according to some stakeholders, may affect reliability--the ability to meet consumers' demand--in some regions. In 2012, GAO recommended that DOE [Department of Energy], EPA, and FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] develop and document a formal, joint process to monitor industry's progress responding to these regulations. In June 2014, EPA proposed new regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that will also affect these units. GAO was asked to update its 2012 report. This report examines (1) agencies' efforts to respond to GAO's recommendation and (2) what is known about planned retirements and retrofits. GAO reviewed documents, analyzed data, and interviewed agency officials and stakeholders."
GAO-14-672; Government Accountability Office-14-672
Government Accountability Office: http://www.gao.gov/