Home > Media > BCSE In The News
Print Print

BCSE In The News

(G)rumblings: Industry reacts to Clean Power Plan

August 4, 2015, FierceEnergy
By: Barbara Vergetis Lundin

The industry is rumbling (and some are grumbling) about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's final Clean Power Plan announced by President Obama yesterday. If you haven't had a chance to catch up, consider this your one-stop spot for industry reaction to the Clean Power Plan.

"EPA's Clean Power Plan is the most comprehensive, far-reaching regulation ever promulgated by the federal government to impact the electric power sector and will significantly change electric utility operations well into the future.

Throughout this rulemaking process, EEI raised a number of issues, and EPA seems to have responded to some of our key concerns. While we are still reviewing and analyzing the rule's specifics and the impact of the restructured interim goals, the final guidelines appear to contain a range of tools to maintain reliability and better reflect how the interconnected power system operates.

We appreciate EPA's significant outreach over the past year. Given the length and complexity of this rule -- and the many stakeholders it affects -- challenges will remain. EEI and its member companies will continue to work with the states as they develop plans that meet their state energy needs.

Today utilities are focused on the transition to a cleaner generating fleet. In 2014, utilities reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 15 percent below 2005 levels, and nearly one-third of U.S. power generation came from zero-emissions sources -- nuclear and renewables. In addition, between 1990 and 2014, emissions of nitrogen oxides were cut by 74 percent and sulfur dioxide emissions were reduced by 80 percent, during a period when electricity use grew by 36 percent.

Our industry also is making significant investments in renewables and in the grid infrastructure needed to deliver renewables to customers. In fact, utility-scale solar projects now amount to almost 60 percent of installed solar capacity, and the amount of electricity produced from wind doubled from 2010 to 2014. As always, EEI's member companies remain committed to providing reliable, affordable, and increasingly clean electricity to all Americans."
-- Tom Kuhn, President, Edison Electric Institute (EEI)

"The many and multifaceted changes now underway in the U.S. power sector are being driven by a combination of technology, market forces and smart, regional regulation. We see President Obama's Clean Power Plan as another piece of this bigger picture, in which utilities will have leading roles in ongoing innovation, collaboration and regional solutions. We stand ready to work with utilities, policy makers, the solar industry and other stakeholders as they face the challenges and opportunities of implementing the long-term vision we all share of a clean, reliable and affordable energy future."
-- Julia Hamm, President and CEO, Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)

"I congratulate the Administration on finalizing the Clean Power Plan rule and greatly appreciate the significant outreach and engagement with our sector. They took the time to understand that states and regions are in different starting places and have different opportunities for achieving emission reductions."
-- Tony Earley, Chairman and CEO, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E)

"American wind power can do this. Low-cost wind energy reduced carbon emissions by five percent in 2014, and we're capable of doing a lot more. We can build a more diverse, reliable, cleaner energy mix while creating jobs and keeping money in the pockets of American consumers."
-- Tom Kiernan, CEO, American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

"SMUD supports federal action to reduce carbon emissions in the electricity sector while ensuring the reliability of the electricity grid. We have invested in a variety of renewable resources, along with efficient natural gas generation and hydro power, to significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to provide affordable, reliable electricity to our customers. In concert with our considerable investments in energy efficiency, we've demonstrated our commitment to a low-carbon future. In the final rule, we appreciate the EPA's recognition that early action should be encouraged and recognized. It's clear that EPA considered the constructive comments from stakeholders."
-- Arlen Orchard, General Manager and CEO, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)

"For the first time ever, existing power plants have a legal responsibility to limit harmful carbon pollution. This plan gives states plenty of flexibility to adopt more renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. This common-sense and long-overdue step will drive technological innovation, avoid local air pollution and help our country lead on climate change. Based on feedback in the comment period, the EPA has added even more incentives and credits for states to comply early."
-- Sam Adams, Director, U.S. Climate Initiative, World Resources Institute

"Time and again, when there's a market signal -- whether it's from consumers, from states, or from EPA -- markets respond. There is no reason to think the Clean Power Plan should be any different. Advanced energy is a $200 billion industry in the U.S. today. With strong markets in place for these technologies, which can be used for compliance, there is every reason to expect an industry response that will make implementation of the Clean Power Plan easier and cheaper."
-- Malcom Woolf, Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs, Advanced Energy Economy

"Even in the face of damning analyses and scathing opposition from across the country, EPA's final carbon rule reveals what we've said for months – this agency is pursuing an illegal plan that will drive up electricity costs and put people out of work. This rule fails across the board, but most troubling is that it fails the millions of families and businesses who rely on affordable electricity to help them keep food on the table and the lights on."
-- Mike Duncan, President and CEO, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity

"The cheapest energy is the energy you don't have to produce in the first place, with recent studies showing that saving a unit of power costs two to three times less than generating it by traditional or non-traditional means. Energy efficiency is also the fastest route to reduced emissions, with programs that can be up and running within 12-14 months, long before the typical new power plant has run the course from approval to construction...President Obama has shown in word and deed over the past six years that he understands the compelling case for energy efficiency…In light of this record, it comes as no surprise that his Clean Power Plan will put efficiency to the test, state by state, in the search for the best solutions to America's electricity needs…There may be much idle talk in coming days about why efficiency is not on the final roster of building blocks for the determination of state goals. But efficiency is about results, not distractions."
-- Kateri Callahan, President, Alliance to Save Energy

"We are pleased the facts about cost-effective carbon reductions won out, as evidenced by the increased role for renewables in the plan…as a former RGGI chair, I know first-hand that states can cut carbon pollution and grow their economies far more effectively when they work together rather than if they act alone. With the final rule, EPA encourages states to collaborate, which makes perfect sense --the electricity market crosses state lines, therefore the best solutions are regional in nature."
-- Ken Kimmell, President, Union of Concerned Scientists

"Undoubtedly, the process leading up to the Carbon Plan and the rule itself has forced the industry to revisit core assumptions about generation resource portfolios and replacing cheaper coal with gas, nuclear and/or renewables. Depending on what their states may require and where they sit relative to EPA's benchmarks, utilities may need to reassess their resource plans. With increased pressure to comply with federal standards, if they have not already, states are going to start asking very tough questions about the cost effectiveness and the reliability of renewables as potential replacements for traditional "baseload" resources. To the extent that distributed generation is relied upon, utilities may be required to rethink the traditional customer-provider relationship to determine the value of customer provided services from things such as on-site generation, roof-top solar, community generation or "demand response" services."
-- Joseph Hall, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney and Co-Chair of Dorsey's Energy Industry Group

"Now that a final rule has been released, our members will engage in a review process to understand, with certainty, the revised plan's requirements; assess how the rules will affect their jurisdictions; engage in meaningful dialogues with their state counterparts, including air regulators and other stakeholder groups on next steps; communicate and coordinate with neighbor states; and assess costs, ratepayer impacts and resources needed for compliance. In many jurisdictions, our members will remain a crucial resource to help determine each State's implementation plans. None of these activities can be completed quickly. A plan of this magnitude requires and deserves a deliberative review process. States are not all alike…Moving forward, as we review each aspect of the plan, NARUC will continue to engage in conversations with the relevant agencies and individuals for greater clarity on this highly technical and nuanced set of requirements. To that end, we will help convene key decision-makers, host informational meetings and publish analyses aimed at broader and deeper understanding of the Clean Power Plan."
-- Lisa Edgar, President, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC)

"While this rule will do nothing to affect the agency's climate indicators, it holds the strong potential to raise electricity prices, cost American jobs, endanger reliability, and make our nation less competitive…Now, with the final rule made public, we can be even more sure that EPA has presented the American public with a lousy bargain. It is critical that our nation's leaders, particularly the President and the Congress, intervene to limit the damage from this bad rule."
-- Partnership for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE)

"Any increase in the cost of electricity most dramatically impacts those who can least afford it, and the fallout from the EPA's rule will cascade across the nation for years to come."
-- National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA)

"Consumer Energy Alliance is disappointed that the White House failed to give significant consideration to the impacts to energy consumers in its final version of the Environmental Protection Agency's 'Clean Power Plan.

Study after study has shown that these rules will raise both electricity and natural gas prices for all American consumers, threaten grid reliability and security, and take an amount of electricity equal to the total electricity demand of New England offline with no plan to replace the lost production. All within an extremely tight timeline."
-- David Holt, President, Consumer Energy Alliance

"EPA's release of the final rule to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector is a historic move that shows the United States is prepared to take meaningful steps to fight global climate change.

EPA's Clean Power Plan provides the essential flexibility needed to ensure successful implementation of the standard. The Plan's flexibility will allow states to meet their targets with a broad portfolio of affordable and reliable technologies, including an array of energy efficiency, natural gas and renewable energy solutions. In addition, states should be allowed the use carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) and well as carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies for compliance if they have carbon utilization and sequestration capacity.

The Clean Power Plan also offers a great opportunity for constructive partnership and dialogue between state policy-makers and the private sector, with clear opportunities to explore state-specific or multi-state options for compliance."
-- Lisa Jacobson, President, Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE)

"The time has come to replace our aging, dirty energy infrastructure with clean, reliable 21st century energy technologies, like solar. Solar energy is the most sensible compliance option for states under the Clean Power Plan. Solar works in all 50 states, has zero carbon emissions, creates more jobs per megawatt than any other technology, and can be deployed cost-effectively and quickly - all while improving grid reliability. Today, solar energy is the fastest-growing source of energy in America. Under the Clean Power Plan, the solar industry will continue to expand production and lower costs to meet the increased demand from states, which means solid, well-paying jobs for hundreds of thousands of Americans."
-- Rhone Resch, President and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)