One more reason to close down your coal plants: the EPA's Section 316(b) rule
In early 2014, the EPA will unveil new requirements for cooling water intake that will affect hundreds of power plants around the country. Section 316 of the Clean Water Act requires that these structures incorporate the best available technology for minimizing environmental impact.
The rule applies to facilities that use more than 2,000,000 gallons of water a day. Although many large power plants have already made modifications, smaller public power and cooperative facilities are now subject to the rule. They will have eight years to comply.
Writing in Electric Light & Power, Stantec engineers Nathan Henderson and Bill Mcelroy claim the rule may be additional impetus for conversion or decommissioning coal plants. When combined with other recent rule changes, it may make the cost of running coal plants "too much to bear."
For more technical details, review Understanding the Proposed 316b Rule for Cooling Water Intake Structures at Existing Facilities prepared by HDR, the Omaha, Nebraska-based architecture, engineering, construction and consulting firm.
Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.