By Editors of Power Engineering
From December 2015 through April 2016, 87.4 GW of coal plants installed pollution control equipment to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards requirement.
During that time 19.7 GW of coal units retired, while another 5.6 GW converted to natural gas.
MATS, unveiled in early 2012, requires all coal and oil-fired generators to comply with new limits on emissions. At the time, the rule applied to 76 percent of all operating coal units, representing 99 percent of electric capacity generated from coal.
Though the compliance deadline was originally April 2015, 142 GW of coal plants received one-year extensions.
An additional one-year extension to April 2017 was granted to a few units critical to ensuring electric reliability. Five coal plants with a combined capacity 2.3 GW received this extension. Since then, two of the five plants have retired, one converted to natural gas, and one installed MATS-compliant controls. The remaining plant, Oklahoma’s Grand River Energy Center, was given another emergency extension for reliability issues in April.
Of the total that installed equipment, activated carbon injection technology was the most widely used due to a relatively short construction lead time and the lowest installation cost at $11 per KW. Other technologies, including sorbent systems, scrubbers and baghouses and SCR were used on 12 GW to 15 GW.