Heads up, utilities: Obama to announce power plant emissions limits


By: SGN Staff


The pending announcement of new emissions limits on fossil fuel power plants has dozens of implications. Utilities that depend heavily on coal - Atlanta's Southern Company and Ohio's American Electric Power among them - will be hardest hit and their customers will see rate increases. Renewables will certainly get a boost. Nuclear MAY get a boost.


The smart grid will certainly benefit, both as a way to transmit renewables and as a way to accomplish energy efficiency and demand response - and as a way to improve resilience against severe weather events from climate change.


Even though I hate to be a Cassandra, I fear the entire industry will take a PR hit. We're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Fight against the limits and we are polluting monsters. Implement the limits and the necessary rate hikes and we are money-gouging monsters. Either way, it's going to be hard to get any love for a while. - Jesse Berst


As we went to press, President Barack Obama was set to announce limits to greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. According to Edison Electric Institute, there are 1,142 coal-fired plants and 3,967 natural-gas-fired plants, all of which would face new carbon limits. Taken together, those plants produce 67% of the nation's electricity and 40% of the nation's carbon emissions.