Sat November 16, 2013

Keeping Power Plants in Line with Federal Emission Regs

Credit engr.uky.edu

Kentucky lawmakers have been briefed on ongoing technological developments to make the state's coal-fired power-plants more in line with new federal emissions standards.  But , the effort may be more about keeping coal a viable source of energy for the state than it is about fixing the environment.

Rodney Andrews is the director for the University of Kentucky’s Center for Applied Energy Research. Their work is largely centered on what to do with the pesky carbon dioxide that’s created as a result of burning fossil fuels like coal and contributes to climate change.

But Andrews says it’s not quite ready for prime time.

“These technologies take time to develop. They also take, unfortunately, a lot of money. So we are looking at projects going out as far as 2020,” said Andrews.

That troubled energy subcommittee co-chair Rep. Richard Henderson and other fellow Eastern Kentucky lawmakers, who criticized the EPA and Obama Administration for new emission regulations.

“Do we wait, and hope that we have a less radical administration the next time, and we can move forward with carbon capture? What do we do, what do we need to do as a body to help move East and West Kentucky forward?” asked Henderson.

Andrews’ answer? Continue funding his research.

But even in the best-case scenario, he said, energy costs across the state will continue to climb in the years to come.