News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

The Holden Arboretum

Knight Foundation

Metro RTA


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Environment


Mercury rule raises the cost of coal
Akron's FirstEnergy is closing half of its coal plants due to lower demand and the high costs of making coal a clean fuel
by WKSU's JEFF ST. CLAIR


Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
 
The Hatfield's Ferry power station sits along the Monongahela River south of Pittsburgh. The plant would require $245 million in upgrades to comply with new U.S. EPA rules limiting emissions of mercury and other toxins. The plant will close this fall.
Courtesy of FirstEnergy
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

An Ohio utility is closing two of its coal-fired power plants in western Pennsylvania.

WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports lower demand and increased regulations are changing energy production in the region.

 

LISTEN: St.Clair on plant closings

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (1:14)


(Click image for larger view.)

Akron-based First Energy is closing two aging coal-powered plants south of Pittsburgh. The two will join four plants in Ohio, one in West Virginia, and one in Maryland that are slated to, or have already closed.

The shut-downs come after the U.S. EPA adopted more stringent rules for emissions of mercury and other toxins. Those rules go into effect in April, 2015. 

First Energy’s Mark Durbin says the regulations, along with decreased demand for electricity, are changing the economics of the company’s power generation system.

“Getting electricity to the market-place is not an easy thing to do. Whether it’s the nuclear plant, whether it’s the fossil plants that we have, even the natural gas plants… it’s a very expensive proposition. So we’ll keep spending those dollars, we’ll meet the rules, and we’ll be able to provide electricity to our customers.”

FirstEnergy is spending some $650 million in upgrades to its six remaining coal plants. Mercury is a persistent neurotoxin found naturally in coal.  The EPA estimates the new standards will prevent 11,000 premature deaths per year and save $37 billion in health costs nationwide.


U.S. utilities may mothball between 60,000 MW – 100,000 MW in coal-fired power plant generation by 2015.  That’s when new EPA rules take effect that strictly limit the amount of mercury and other toxins allowed from smokestacks.  The EPA estimates the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) will save $37 billion to $90 billion in health costs each year after the rule takes effect.

Coal consumption has fallen 21% over the past five years. Competition from abundant shale gas, increased efficiency, and the economic slowdown have driven down energy costs and, with the MATS rules, made coal more expensive.  Around 42% of electricity is generated by burning coal, down from 50% in 2003 (2011, U.S. Energy Information Admin.)


Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Akron's Chapel Hill Mall in foreclosure
Not a surprise. Between the shoplifting, gangs and violence that goes on up there it is no wonder that no one feels safe to shop at Chapel Hill. They have sca...

Ohio launches investigation into at least one Concept charter school
I worked at Noble Academy Cleveland as admin assistant and enrolment coordinator for 6 years, I know this is so valid and true and can provide staff names and p...

Crisis looms in filling aviation industry jobs in Ohio and the nation
I listened to this story yesterday morning on the radio and just want to add this comment. My son went to school to train as an air traffic controller, and gra...

Cuyahoga Valley National Park considers fire to fight invasives
I'm for the controlled burn. There are not enough people (myself included) who volunteer for the removal of invasive plant species. Therefore, another solution ...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University