By Miranda Willson, E&E News reporter
Four states are weighing plans to stall the retirement of coal-fired power plants, a sign of growing resistance in conservative, energy-producing regions against national efforts to decarbonize the grid and a reaction to the Texas blackouts, analysts say.
Lawmakers in Montana, Wyoming, West Virginia and North Dakota have introduced bills on the issue, including measures requiring utility regulators to scrutinize planned coal plant retirements and proposing funds for carbon capture projects.
“It’s a trend that’s picked up in the last several years,” said Dan Shea, an energy policy specialist at the National Conference of State Legislatures. “I’ve been at NCSL for five-plus years, and this is definitely the most we’ve seen this type of legislation.”
Lawmakers in support of the bills are generally concerned about grid reliability as more renewables come online and the economic challenges facing their states’ coal industries, which support jobs and tax revenue, Shea said.