Carbon emissions progress in the electric utility industry
The Obama Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last August issued its Clean Power Plan rules to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the nation’s electric power generation plants. In October, a number of parties filed legal action that will subject the plan to litigation in court.
If upheld, the Clean Power Plan will affect carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired and combined-cycle natural gas-burning power plants. The target is to reduce emissions nationally from the 2005 level by 32 percent by the year 2030. Each state is given a specific goal and tasked with developing a plan to meet that goal.
While North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have concerns about how the plan will affect co-op members, electric cooperatives are working with state officials to develop a plan to meet the state goal of a 36 percent reduction by 2030 and minimize any resulting cost increases that could affect cooperative members. States must submit plans to the EPA by September 2016.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have always valued a diverse power portfolio that includes nuclear, natural gas and renewables. In fact, more than half of the power provided by North Carolina’s electric cooperatives comes from emissions-free nuclear energy. Also, cooperatives offer their members a variety of energy efficiency programs to help co-op members better manage their energy use.
The electric utility industry in general has been actively reducing power plant emissions for years. At right are some charts that help illustrate the picture.