- Texas, Indiana, and North Dakota regulators told a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) conference last week that the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan (CPP) requires too much greenhouse gas emission (GHG) reduction too soon, threatening the affordability and reliability of electricity delivery.
- The technical conference on the CPP, which would cut U.S. GHGs 30% from the 2005 level by 2030, focused on the region from the Gulf Coast to the upper Great Plains where there is a rich wind resource, heavy dependence on coal for electricity, and key oil-producing and refining infrastructure.
- According to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the grid operator for 15 midwestern U.S. states and one Canadian province, opting for a regional compliance effort with a price on carbon instead of individual state plans could save $3 billion annually.
Concerns about reliability and affordability registered in over 4 million comments on the CPP caused the EPA to push the date for finalizing rules for new and existing power plants from June until “mid-summer.”
Regional transmission operator PJM Interconnection concluded regional collaboration on compliance can cut costs by almost 30%, from an estimated $45 billion in 2020 to $35 billion. Grid operators, utility officials, and state regulators have told FERC regional compliance plans will be difficult to develop and require new transmission and natural gas infrastructure.
Complying with the CPP will require at least $1.5 billion and potentially up to $2.5 billion in transmission investments, according to ICF International. While the cost is "manageable," ICF said, getting the build out done in time to meet CPP requirements could be more difficult.
The required MISO investment in new transmission will depend on the final rule but, ICF found, it is likely to be between $500 million and $750 million to provide reliable compliance with the CPP.