If coal plants falter, will combined heat and power save the day?
Energy companies are warning that if stricter EPA regulations go into effect, they will have no choice but to shut down a large number of coal-fired power plants across the country. According to some estimates, that could mean as much as 8% of the country's power capacity would simply disappear. What would we do then?
Well, if that worst-case scenario actually occurs, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has a solution: more energy-efficient measures on the customer side, like combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat recovery, could make up for the huge shortfall created by the loss of coal-fired power plants. The group's new white paper, "Avoiding A Train Wreck: Replacing Old Coal Plants with Energy Efficiency," lays out their case.