- EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy met for more than an hour with the executive committee of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) to hear utility industry leaders’ responses to the EPA’s just-released regulations proposing to cut greenhouse gas emissions from existing U.S. power plants 30% by 2030.
- The utility execs applauded McCarthy’s willingness to face industry leaders as the EPA and the power industry begin what is essentially a negotiation over the nature and extent of the emissions reduction plan.
- Chair/President/CEO Nick Akins of American Electric Power, one of the biggest U.S. greenhouse gas emitters, said past stakeholder cooperation has improved EPA rules on mercury emissions and on clean water but acknowledged this rule is more complicated and, especially because it give states flexibility to choose how to make the reductions, is unlike anything utilities have dealt with before.
One complication Akins noted is that, depending on the baseline year chosen for calculations, the amount of energy efficiency, renewables, retirements of generation and the addition of natural gas needed for state compliance can vary.
Entergy Corp. Chair/CEO Leo Denault suggested the proposal should allow some compliance consideration to state processes that aim for a target but fall short not because of effort but because of confusion over the calculations.
Edison International Chair/President/CEO and incoming EEI Chair Ted Craver said this first opportunity for EEI leaders to consult on the rule demonstrated the utility industry’s ability to collaborate constructively, allowed leaders to reverse uninformed initial condemnatory responses, and said more study of the draft rule is needed.
Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning said both the EPA and the utility industry want “clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy…"