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US power-plant rules threaten grid reliability, Peabody CEO says

Peabody CEO Jim Grech

Peabody CEO Jim Grech

3rd May 2024

By: Bloomberg

  

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Peabody Energy, the biggest US coal producer, is warning that federal regulations to curb emissions from power plants pose a threat to the grid at a time when electricity demand is poised to surge.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced regulations last month that will force coal-fired power plants to capture nearly all of their carbon dioxide emissions — or close — by 2039. The policies are a critical part of President Joe Biden’s efforts to fight climate change, but they come just as the boom for artificial intelligence and data centers is set to send power demand higher.

The new regulations are “threatening grid reliability at a time of increased energy demand,” Jim Grech, Peabody’s CEO, said during a conference call with analysts Thursday.

Rules that may lead to power plants shutting down have the potential to crimp electricity supply, Grech said, while also adding that he thinks the environmental regulator may be overreaching.

“We do believe, though, that the EPA has overstepped its authority,” he said.

Earlier this week, utility American Electric Power’s CEO Benjamin Fowke said the company might legally challenge the new federal rules.

“With manufacturing centers, electric vehicles, data centers, AI centers and so on, there’s tremendous, tremendous load growth projected,” Grech said. That’s spurring “concern of grid reliability and not having enough existing baseload generation to support this load growth.”

Edited by Bloomberg

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