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Utilities work to construct new transmission lines in anticipation of federal rules

SUBNET Solutions Inc | Friday, July 29, 2011

New regulations from the federal government will serve to drastically alter the nation's power supply network, according to a published report.

Federal government regulators have enacted a series of strict environmental laws over the past few years aimed at improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, up to 20 percent of the country's coal-fired power generating plants could be decommissioned by the end of this decade, Reuters reports.

A study conducted by Virginia-based consulting firm ICF found that PJM and the Midwest ISO will be most affected by the rulings. The federal rules target large waste producers that are based on antiquated technologies, according to experts. They will help to usher in additional renewable energy sources throughout the country and many utilities are working to construct new transmission lines to deliver clean energy to their customers.

As they work to comply with the federal standards, many utilities will retire their older and smaller coal plants, the ICF report concluded. The largest concentration of such facilities is in the Midwest and the Southeast.

"The scope and scale of this potential loss of generation capacity is unprecedented, and there is little comparable real-world experience to draw upon," the report states.

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