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New EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants could cost Mississippi billions

The cost for Mississippi to meet proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations governing carbon dioxide emissions from coal power plants could run into the billions.

Guess who’ll be footing the tab? Everyone who pays an electric bill.

The proposed regulations, which were released in June, would force Mississippi to reduce its carbon emissions by 38 percent in 2030 from 2005 levels under the formula, which differs for each state. Mississippi received about 13 percent of its electric generation capability from coal-fired plants in 2013 while the United States received 37 percent of its power from coal. Most of Mississippi’s electrical capacity comes from natural gas (72 percent).

Like an iceberg, the regulations on carbon emissions are the visible element. Another element of the proposed regulations that will raise rates for Mississippians is the mandate for electrical generation from renewable sources. Patrick Sullivan, president of Mississippi Energy Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to energy-based development in the state, said the renewable requirements alone could cost state ratepayers anywhere from $5 billion to $10 billion by 2030.

According to Sullivan, that cost would be added on top of the need to increase generation capacity as more industries and residents move to the state.

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