Coal PlantAs regulations look to limit the amount of carbon emissions that come from the electricity industry, new innovations like demand response and energy efficiency are growing more important.

Coal power plants are becoming fewer in number, especially in states that used to rely heavily on the high-carbon-emitting fuel source. Though formerly a mainstay in the country’s energy supply spectrum, regulations are becoming more critical of coal’s environmental impact, and in doing so, making way for more sustainable energy solutions.

Coal country shutting down plants
This is especially the case in coal country, which includes states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland, where many of the coal power plants in the region have been shut down as calls for alternative energy become louder. GreenTech Media explains that in Ohio alone, 1,400 megawatts of coal-fired power plants were slated be taken offline, making up 13 percent of the power generated in the region, known as the American Transmission System Inc. load zone.

The news source indicates that this trend is likely to continue throughout the country, as the Energy Information Administration estimates that a further 27 gigawatts will be taken offline by 2017. The fuel source has come under criticism as of late for being particularly damaging to the environment, as its emissions were responsible for 28.3 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2010. This led the president to begin talks with the Environmental Protection Agency that would work toward creating limits for the emissions of these power plants.

Finding alternative solutions
With so much power generation being taken offline, there need to be new innovations that can help mitigate the loss of electricity generators. One way in which some power suppliers have done this is through the implementation of alternative energy sources, like renewables, which accounted for about half of the new electricity generation installed last year, according to government figures.

Other ways that companies have been able to do this is through the implementation of solutions like demand response agreements, in which energy customers agree to not consume power during certain peak hours, or at the power provider’s request, in return for reduced rates or rebates. This has also made room for more energy efficient solutions for customers in the form of a building retrofitting or the appliance replacement.

The removal of coal-fired power plants is sure to have effects on residential electricity rates as well as commercial, making the need for these new solutions strong.

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