Tough Decisions Ahead For Coal Burning Power Plants

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By Patrick Duronio


Updated: Thu, 03 Jul 2014 11:05:37 CST

Tough decisions are ahead for area power plant providers that still rely on coal burning.
On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency over greenhouse gases, but kept in place the EPA's plans to cut power plant emissions by 30 percent before 2030. Hastings Utilities relies on coal burning.

The 62 year-old plant is being pushed by technology advancements and environmentalists to become more energy efficient. The plant, along with others, will have to make that switch to natural gas or it will be shut down. Manager Marvin Schultes says the cost to switch would be manageable if the technology exists.
"The problem today is that there is no technology to produce the CO2 from a coal fire power plant.... there's none that exist. So if you have to reduce your CO2 output form a coal fire power plant today, you pretty much have to convert it to something else."

Today, coal and oil provide for 63 percent of the country's energy consumption, while natural gas provides 22 percent.

Although natural gas burns cleaner, experts say that consumers can expect an increase in energy prices in the years to come.