Virginia coal-fired plant to close  The federal government has enacted increasingly stringent environmental regulations over the past decade. Many utilities are preparing to decommission antiquated coal-fired power plants as a result of the new laws, with one of the biggest such facilities in the U.S. slated to close next year.

The Associated Press reports that federal guidelines pertaining to greenhouse gas emissions will ultimately result in the closure of roughly 20 percent of the country's coal-fired power plants. While such facilities are responsible for a significant amount of energy generation and can be turned on quickly, they are also some of the biggest polluters, experts say.

The Potomac River Generation Station, located near Old Town Alexandria, Virginia, will shut its doors next year as operator GenOn Energy complies with the environmental regulations. Environmentalists have long worked to close the plant, and city officials recently agreed to a deal with the Houston, Texas-based power company to close the antiquated power generating facility, according to The AP.

Some industry analysts are worried, however, that the closure of coal-fired plants will spur higher electricity prices for consumers. Many utility officials have similarly expressed such concerns, affirming they will be unable to achieve business cost reductions as they invest in renewable energy technologies, which are considerably more expensive.
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