Electricity: Significant Changes Are Expected in Coal-Fueled Generation, but Coal is Likely to Remain a Key Fuel Source

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Retirements of older units, retrofits of existing units with pollution controls, and the construction of some new coal-fueled units are expected to significantly change the coal-fueled electricity generating fleet, making it capable of emitting lower levels of pollutants than the current fleet but reducing its future electricity generating capacity. Two broad trends are affecting power companies' decisions related to coal-fueled generating units--recent environmental regulations and changing market conditions, such as the recent decrease in the price of natural gas. Regarding retirements, forecasts GAO reviewed based on ... continued below

Creation Information

United States. Government Accountability Office. October 29, 2012.

Context

This report is part of the collection entitled: Government Accountability Office Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this report can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this report or its content.

Provided By

UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this report. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Retirements of older units, retrofits of existing units with pollution controls, and the construction of some new coal-fueled units are expected to significantly change the coal-fueled electricity generating fleet, making it capable of emitting lower levels of pollutants than the current fleet but reducing its future electricity generating capacity. Two broad trends are affecting power companies' decisions related to coal-fueled generating units--recent environmental regulations and changing market conditions, such as the recent decrease in the price of natural gas. Regarding retirements, forecasts GAO reviewed based on current policies project that power companies may retire 15 to 24 percent of coal-fueled generating capacity by 2035--an amount consistent with GAO's analysis. GAO's statistical analysis, examining data on power companies that have announced plans to retire coal-fueled units, found that these power companies are more likely to retire units that are older, smaller, and more polluting. For example, the units companies plan to retire emitted an average of twice as much sulfur dioxide per unit of fuel used in 2011 as units that companies do not plan to retire. Based on the characteristics of the units companies plan to retire, GAO estimated additional capacity that may retire. In total, GAO identified 15 to 18 percent of coal-fueled capacity that power companies either plan to retire or that GAO estimated may retire--an amount consistent with the forecasts GAO reviewed. Regarding retrofits, the coal-fueled generating fleet may also become less polluting in the future as power companies install controls on many remaining units. Regarding new coal-fueled units, these are likely to be less polluting as they must incorporate advanced technologies to reduce emissions of regulated pollutants. Coal-fueled capacity may decline in the future as less capacity is expected to be built than is expected to retire."

Language

Item Type

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this report in the Digital Library or other systems.

Collections

This report is part of the following collection of related materials.

Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

What responsibilities do I have when using this report?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this report.

Creation Date

  • October 29, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this report last used?

Yesterday: 0
Past 30 days: 0
Total Uses: 2

Where

Geographical information about where this report originated or about its content.

Place Name

Publication Place

Map Information

  • map marker Automatically generated Place Name coordinates.
  • map marker Automatically generated Publication Place coordinates.
  • Repositioning map may be required for optimal printing.

Mapped Locations

Interact With This Report

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Citations, Rights, Re-Use

United States. Government Accountability Office. Electricity: Significant Changes Are Expected in Coal-Fueled Generation, but Coal is Likely to Remain a Key Fuel Source, report, October 29, 2012; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299201/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.