June 25th will mark the deadline for public comments on EPA’s dreadful proposal meant to fulfill President Obama’s campaign promise to “necessarily bankrupt” anyone foolish enough to build a new coal-fired power plant. EPA is properly braced for a very large volume of comments.
Sure, the economics favor gas today, as fracked natural gas floods the market, and it is in fact cheaper to build and run a gas-fired plant rather than one lit by coal. But that very abundance has now depressed the price of gas to the point that the major frackers, like Aubrey McClendon’s troubled Chesapeake Energy, are cutting way back. There’s no certainty about what the future price of gas will be, but it’s surely possible that it will again rise above coal on a per-unit-electricity basis. In that eventuality, you still could not operate a new plant.