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PRB states face hardest route to CPP compliance

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World Coal,

Coal-reliant states in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains appear to have the most difficult road to compliance to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) final Clean Power Plan (CPP), according to SNL Energy analysis.

“The state with the most difficult roe to hoe appears to be Montana, home to a large swath of the Powder River Basin, the nations largest coal-producing region” writes Annalee Grant in the analysis. The EPA set the state a final target of 1305 lb/MWh of CO2 emissions by 2030 compared to business-as-usual case of 2314 lb/MWh in 2030 – requiring a 44% cut in CO2 emissions.

Neighbouring Wyoming will find the journey to compliance similarly challenging with the state needing to cut CO2 emissions by 43% from the business-as-usual case for 2030. Coal generates as much as 88% of electricity in the state, according to SNL Energy and is one of the states to launch preemptive legal action against the CPP.

North Dakota, Wisconsin, Missouri and West Virginia are also facing significant emissions reductions in order to comply with the CPP, whereas as some traditionally coal-using states are better placed. The Tennessee Valley Authority – the largest utility in the US – has been active in closing old coal-fired power and as a result the state is well on the way to meeting its CPP targets.

The CPP aims to cut US emissions of CO2 to 32% below 2005 levels. It requires each state to submit implementation plans to show how it plans to comply with the rule; any state that does not submit will have compliance plans imposed by the EPA.

Under the rule, coal and gas will remain the largest sources of electricity generation, according to the EPA. But coal’s share will fall to 33% of the electricity mix in 2020 and 27% in 2030.

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