Developing EPA carbon regulations could shutdown most U.S. Coal Power possibly within 25 years. A previous Part 2 Post describes how 80% of Coal Power could be feasibly replaced by expanding Wind+Solar Power up to a 30% penetration level by 2040. This would require installing 700% greater new Wind+Solar Power capacity than currently exists and almost a 50% increase in Nuclear Power capacity 2013-2040. Replacing most Coal Power with variable Wind+Solar will require maintaining adequate reserve or backup power capacity needed to reliably operate all Power Grids. Total new Power capacity capital costs are estimated at $2.9 Trillion, which could effectively double future Consumer power costs compared to EIA AEO 2013 projections.
Replacing 80% of Coal Power with Wind+Solar and Nuclear Power should reduce U.S. carbon emissions by 1.6 Billion metric tons per year or by 28% of total projected U.S. carbon emissions in 2040. Achieving this carbon reduction will not only require a huge expansion of zero carbon power generation technologies, but will also require significant trade-offs. Required trade-offs to facilitate rapidly shutting down most Coal Power will include significant impacts on many local and regional environments, and possibly major changes to current new facility permitting processes. This Part 3 Post will cover these more significant impacts of shutting down most U.S. Coal Power by 2040.