Regulations proposed on Sept. 20 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aim to cut carbon pollution from new coal-fired power plants. Thus, the Obama administration continues to establish a regulatory environment that limits the amount of carbon emissions that can come from the electricity industry.
“Coal power plants are becoming fewer in number, especially in states that used to rely heavily on the high-carbon-emitting fuel source,” according to a recent entry by Plymouth Energy. “Though formerly a mainstay in the country’s energy supply spectrum, regulations are becoming more critical of coal’s environmental impact, and in doing so, making way for more sustainable energy solutions.”
In August, the Woodmere, N.Y.-based company published an infographic showcasing emerging trends in alternative fuels, including solar, hydrogen fuel cells, methane, nuclear fission, tidal-based systems, and wind.
“With so much power generation being taken offline, there need to be new innovations that can help mitigate the loss of electricity generators,” according to a company spokesperson. “One way in which some power suppliers have done this is through the implementation of alternative energy sources, like renewables, which accounted for about half of the new electricity generation installed last year, according to government figures.”
According to Plymouth Energy, innovations in photovoltaic systems (solar) have produced a six-month energy payback for users. In the near future, hydrogen fuel cells may also become an alternative source of fuel for millions of vehicles. The system uses hydrogen to interact with an oxidant, and the chemical energy is converted to electrical energy.
U.S. policymakers on Capitol Hill are currently reviewing the Shaheen-Portman Bill which aims to limit carbon emissions throughout the United States. Proponents argue that passing such legislation will cut peak energy demand by 30,000 megawatts, while creating over 140,000 jobs by 2025.
However, the initiative is also meeting resistance from lobbyists who argue that the country is already in the midst of an energy boom due to higher outputs in oil and natural gas production. Opponents contend that limiting carbon emissions unilaterally (i.e., without similar measures in emerging countries such as India and China) would do little to curb global warming, while threatening America’s energy boom.
Lower electricity rates have also encouraged a larger number of manufacturers to relocate back to the United States.
“Using energy efficiently has numerous benefits, as it can help reduce the amount of carbon emitted and provide funds to customers that can be used elsewhere,” according to Plymouth Energy. “Not only does the increased production mean that energy rates are lower, it is creating jobs and lowering energy bills. In doing so, this money can be put back into the economy in other markets, which will help market growth.”