U.S. Power Sector Expresses Anxiety Over Biden Carbon Plan

Evan Poellinger | August 15, 2023
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Members of the U.S. power sector, notably members of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) utility trade group, have called the Biden administration’s carbon regulation plan untenable and demanded alterations.

Under the current regulatory framework, the Biden administration intends for the power sector in the United States to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2035, and to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

On August 8, the EEI requested that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lower their standards for carbon emissions from power plants. EEI cited the limited availability of “carbon capture and storage” technologies, stating “As we outline in these comments, electric companies are not confident that the new technologies EPA has designated to serve as the basis for proposed standards for new and existing fossil-based generation will satisfy performance and cost requirements on the timelines that EPA projects.”

Related: Kamala Harris Gave an Explainer on Electricity, and...Wow

Aside from limited availability of technology, the EEI also noted that features of extant power plant infrastructure would make integrating carbon capture and storage difficult. EEI noted that “space constraints and other limitations” would pose a problem for efforts to retrofit existing power plants, and that, “there are significantly fewer levers for technical and technological improvement for natural-gas based units when compared to coal-based units.”

In spite of their concerns, the EEI has been pressured by various environmental organizations to concede to the new regulatory scheme. Evergreen Action and a number of other environmentalist groups sent a letter to the CEOs of companies who have EEI membership, “appealing to them not to endorse, or sign, EEI's public comments until they ‘commit to collaboration’ and publicly confirm that they will work with the EPA to finalize carbon emission standards for existing coal and new and existing gas power plants.”

Even with the environmentalist mafia backing their measure, it appears that the Biden administration is poised to find their policy ideals quashed by the gaseous emissions of reality.

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