New U.S. power industry water regulations are helping to spur a projected $3.1 billion in investments, according to a new report.
Bluefield Research said in a new analysis that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent effluent guidelines, in addition to discharge regulations, fuel-switching and water supply risks are impacting investments in water and wastewater treatment solutions from 2015 to 2025. Bluefield identified 206 power plants in coal-rich, Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states that are a central focus for EPA regulations. The effluent guidelines require coal-fired power plants with capacities over 50 MW to upgrade their water systems. Bluefield expects operators to spend $2.4 million from 2019 to 2023, and capital expenditures are expected to hit $7.5 billion by 2042.
Over the next decade, an increase of greenfield natural gas-fired plant additions, coal plant replacements and new generation to replace an expected 19 GW of coal plant retirements, which will help drive $540 million of water-related capital expenditures, the report stated. The top three states for new thermal capacity additions are Virginia, Texas and California, bringing a projected increase in dry cooling, municipal wastewater reuse and zero liquid discharge solutions.
“The risk to utilities and independent power producers is not just environmnetal but also operational,” said Bonney Casey, an analyst with Bluefield Research. “The adoption of new water solutions will be more far-reaching than just drought-stricken California; we have seen activity in Florida, Maryland and Pennsylvania.”