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EPA Re-ssues Tighter Air Quality Rules

If they hold this time around, they'll accelerate decommissioning of dirty coal generating plants

1 min read

The U.S.Environmental Protection Agency, having seen a Federal appeals court throw out its new clean air rules two years ago, has now reformulated those rules in ways expected to pass muster. According to the agency, the new rules will avert up to 36,000 premature deaths at a compliance cost of $2.8 billion, besides producing other significant health benefits.  Though the implied estimate of fatalities from coal-fired generation may seem high, it's consistent with the latest and most authoritative assessment of mortality and morbidity associated with U.S. air pollution. It's to be assumed that many utilities and energy companies will opt to shut down some of their oldest and dirtiest coal-fired plants, rather that install expensive pollution abatement equipment, and that as a result,  coal's share in U.S. electricity generation will continue to shrink.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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