Adapting to Coal Plant Closures: A Framework to Understand State Energy Transition Resistance

34 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2021 Last revised: 4 Feb 2022

See all articles by Tara Kathleen Righetti

Tara Kathleen Righetti

University of Wyoming College of Law

Temple Stoellinger

University of Wyoming - School of Environment & Natural Resources; University of Wyoming College of Law

Robert Godby

University of Wyoming - College of Business - Department of Economics and Finance

Date Written: February 8, 2021

Abstract

In response to market pressures and renewable generation mandates, utilities are making the decision to close coal-fired generation assets prior to their scheduled retirement dates. Impacts of early coal-plant closures to workers and communities can be devastating. The conventional response among state policy makers has been to create short term programs to transition workers and provide local economic development assistance. However, through detailed comparative analysis of energy transition policies among states in the Rocky Mountain region a heterogeneity of policy choices emerges. Notably, this includes energy transition resistance, efforts to thwart or delay coal-plant closures and other changes consistent with a shift towards renewable generation. The article unpacks the underlying drivers of energy transition resistance as closely tied to fossil-dependent revenue models and suggests the need for both state-level policies and federal investments in economic diversification.

Keywords: climate change, energy transition, environmental law, public utility law, fossil fuels, workforce transition, economic redevelopment, industrial transition

Suggested Citation

Righetti, Tara Kathleen and Stoellinger, Temple and Godby, Robert, Adapting to Coal Plant Closures: A Framework to Understand State Energy Transition Resistance (February 8, 2021). 51 Envtl. L. 957 (2022), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3781987

Tara Kathleen Righetti (Contact Author)

University of Wyoming College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 3035
Laramie, WY 82071
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.uwyo.edu/law/directory/tara-righetti.html

Temple Stoellinger

University of Wyoming - School of Environment & Natural Resources ( email )

United States

University of Wyoming College of Law ( email )

1000 E. University Ave
Laramie, WY 82071
United States
307-766-6450 (Phone)

Robert Godby

University of Wyoming - College of Business - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

P.O. Box 3985
Laramie, WY 82071-3985
United States

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