ORIGINAL REPORTING: How The Clean Power Plan Drove The Utility Power Mix Transition
Charts: How will the Clean Power Plan stay affect the utility power mix transition?; Utilities will keep adding renewables and natural gas, but the CPP could still have a big effect on how much
Herman K. Trabish, March 8, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: So much has changed since this story ran that it might now be thought of as a eulogy for the Clean Power Plan, may it rest in peace.
Despite the recent legal roadblock from the nation’s top court to the Obama administration plan to regulate climate change-inducing pollution, executives from one end of the utility industry to the other say they don’t see their plans changing much. A survey of more than 500 utility executives conducted by Utility Dive in early 2016 showed that a large majority supported the EPA's Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut U.S. carbon emissions 32% by 2030, and a significant portion wanted to see it strengthened. Add that to a recent report from the Rhodium Group showing that the extension of key tax credits for renewable energy in 2015 will fuel strong growth for wind and solar despite the plan's judicial difficulties, and it appears the U.S. power mix will continue getting cleaner. But while the general trajectory of the power sector appears set, analysts say the Clean Power Plan would have had a significant impact on how the transition unfolds.
President Obama has long been dedicated to cutting U.S. emissions by driving a transition to cleaner utility power mix with more emphasis on renewables, natural gas and other low-carbon technologies. His administration spent its first two years trying to pass an energy bill with a cap and trade plan. But it was blocked in Congress, so the EPA issued the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Opponents sued the EPA, claiming the plan overstepped limits set by the Clean Air Act. Yet utility industry plans have not changed significantly. Industry executives have been planning for a power mix shift for some time, according to Utility Dive’s State of the Electric Utility 2016 survey. Collectively, 72% see natural gas moderately or significantly increasing in their power mixes over the next 20 years, 77% see wind doing so, and 91% see utility-scale solar doing so… click here for more