Coal used to generate electricity represents about 30 percent of U.S. emissions driving climate change.
The plan, which has been temporarily blocked by the Supreme Court, aims to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Low natural gas prices have been driving utilities away from coal for most of the last decade as the nation’s shale gas and fracking boom flooded the market with gas. Prior to 2008, coal generated half the nation’s electricity. Today, it generates less than 30 percent.
Renewable energy sources are also playing a role in the transition away from coal. More new wind and solar plants are expected to become operational in 2016 than new natural gas plants.
More than 16 gigawatts of wind and solar power generating capacity are expected to be built this year – enough to power roughly 12 million homes. About 8 gigawatts of natural gas power generating capacity will be built in 2016.