The first report I co-authored at Carbon Tracker with Matt Gray was called No Country for Coal Gen– Below 2°C and regulatory risk for US coal power owners. We addressed the trends affecting the sector and developed an asset-level phase-out model for coal plants suitable to meet the aims of the Paris Agreement.
We examined how the regulatory framework supports increasingly uncompetitive coal power, and how a phase-out could save US consumers money. A ‘Paris-copliant’ phase-out with early coal closures puts $104bn at risk for coal owners.
But the largest factor, which we termed ‘regulatory risk’ was the prospect of Public Utility Commissions, who agree the returns to power stations at state level, requiring utilities to close coal assets in favour of cheaper natural gas plants or increasingly competitive renewables.