The Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) drafted a new rule that proves hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania to be economic. The new rule would limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants to 1,000 pounds per megawatt-hour, which will force new power plants to use alternative energy, like Shale gas. While some believe that the E.P.A is starting a war with the Coal industry – The E.P.A is simply following a shift that is already unfolding, while decreasing the amount of greenhouse gases omitted into the air.
Natural gas cost less than alternative fuel sources. For example, while the price of gasoline has risen rapidly over the last year, the price of natural gas has fallen to the lowest level in a decade.
The reason why natural gas prices are low has to do with increase production of hydraulic fracturing. The mild winter and the fact that many power plants switched to using natural gas long ago might have something to do with the supply of natural gas has soaring and exceeding the demand. Efforts are being made to use more natural gas.
For example, fleet vehicles (buses) already use natural gas. However, the market is limited to vehicles that can make it back to headquarter for refilling. Chrysler announced a pickup truck that will run on both gasoline and natural gas.
Recently built power plants fired by natural gas easily meet the new standards of the new greenhouse gas emission rule – The rule to control greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants could go end up closing down the old-fashion coal-burning power generation.
Most of the newly build power plants are fired by natural gas, so the rule presents little obstacle for new gas plants. However, that isn’t the case for coal-fired plants. Coal-fired plants face a far deeper challenge to stay afloat, since there is no easily accessible technology that can bring their emissions under the limit. This new rule, does not apply to existing plants.