First, the most widely heralded announcement: carbon limits for existing power plants, which a White House spokesperson said the EPA would issue by June 2014 and finalize a year later. This move will almost certainly embroil the administration in yet another drawn-out fight against Republicans and the energy industry. Already, the EPA has spent years trying to enact carbon standards for new power plants – announcing another delay in April to the rules proposed in March 2012 – not to mention limits on the plants’ smog-forming chemicals.
So, not surprisingly, analysts are suggesting that changes to the standards for existing power plants could take longer than the White House suggests. Benjamin Salisbury of FBR Capital Markets, quoted on FuelFix, said the EPA could take two to three years to draft the rules, receive comments and finalize regulations. Then states will have another 21 months to get approval for compliance plans.
Then there’s the strong possibility of legal challenges, which have hit Obama’s climate proposals every step of the way. All in all, companies should not expect these proposals to change the carbon intensity of the electricity they purchase for a good while.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.
Picture credit: USGS