Wind, solar cheer as coal vows battle on Obama’s Energy Plan

Wind, solar cheer as coal vows battle on Obama’s Energy Plan

The wind and solar industries cheered while coal companies vowed to kill President Barack Obama’s new limits on climate-change pollution as details of the historic regulations emerged.

The rules include tougher limits on planet-warming carbon emissions and more incentives for renewables than originally expected. That may also mean fewer benefits for natural gas or nuclear power than anticipated. The outlook for coal remained bleak as ever.

“The renewable energy sector should be a clear winner while merchant coal-fired generators could end up the big losers,” Paul Patterson, a New York-based utility analyst for Glenrock Associates LLC, said in an e-mail. “Given the rules’ complexity and controversy, those who could likely stand to benefit the most in the end might be the lawyers.”

Dubbed the Clean Power Plan, the package is Obama’s most ambitious effort to tackle industrial pollution that scientists blame for dangerous increases in global temperatures. The Environmental Protection Agency regulations demand deep reductions in carbon emissions by curbing reliance on coal and natural gas. The rules are designed, in part, to put the U.S. on track to meet goals the government has set out in negotiations for a global accord on climate change.

Shares of wind energy companies in Europe rose, including turbine makers Vestas Wind Systems A/S, Gamesa Corp. Tecnologica SA and Nordex SE.

U.S. power producers that have pushed hard in clean energy gained, including NextEra Energy Inc., the biggest North American producer of wind and solar energy.

MOST COMPREHENSIVE

There is no question that today’s announcement is positive for renewables and it will be positive in the long term for the renewable business at NextEra,” Chief Executive Officer Jim Robo said during an earnings conference call.

The final Clean Power Plan “will be the most comprehensive, far-reaching regulation ever promulgated by the federal government to impact the electric power sector,” Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, a Washington-based utility group, said by e-mail Sunday. EEI says utilities plan to shut or retrofit about 73 gigawatts of coal plant capacity by 2022, enough to power 36 million households.

Brian Deese, an adviser to Obama on energy and climate issues, told reporters on a conference call that the health and economic benefits of lowering carbon pollution under the plan will be four to seven times greater than the estimated $8.4 billion cost of the regulations.

It’s a simple idea that will change the world: cut carbon pollution today so our kids won’t inherit climate chaos tomorrow,” said Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council said Monday by e-mail.

 

Source: Bloomberg

Date: August 2015

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