POWER PLAN HUB

Most states, utilities see carbon regulation as inevitable -- C2ES

Electric utilities have not stopped working through scenarios for complying with U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan should it survive legal challenges, in the view of Michael Tubman, director of outreach at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

"They want to make sure that whatever their plans are make sense over the long term," he said.

Tubman will be part of a panel on the EPA carbon rule tomorrow in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Energy Information Administration's annual conference.

In an interview, Tubman provided a preview of what he intends to say, in particular trying to explain "what the responsibilities of states are when it comes to the Clean Power Plan and the underlying Clean Air Act."

"For many states, it's the first time that air directors and environmental commissioners have worked closely with public utility commissioners or energy office officials. And that's really positive, not just for the CPP but state planning overall," Tubman said. "The relationships that have developed over the last 18 months or so have really been positive.

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"There are a couple of states that are truly not doing anything at all. And there are a couple of states that are continuing on as if nothing had happened. But the vast majority of states are continuing to think or work on the plan in some fashion," he said.

"I think most states and utilities and other stakeholders believe the stay will be lifted and at some point there will be regulation of carbon from the power sector and they don't want to be caught flat-footed. They want to take this additional time to think more and learn more about what a good compliance plan is," he said.

Over the weekend, legislators from Southern states met in Lexington, Ky., on a wide range of issues including energy and environment. On Saturday, Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power and a harsh critic of EPA, led a discussion of energy and politics in an election year.

Yesterday, Republican state Rep. William Sandifer of South Carolina led a discussion on "Clearing the Air: An Update on the Clean Power Plan" that featured Washington attorney Roger Martella, who was general counsel at EPA under President George W. Bush. EnergyWire's Kristi E. Swartz is covering the meeting.

The Energy Information Administration's 2016 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., tomorrow will feature a morning panel on the Clean Power Plan that will explore state and regional perspectives. It will be moderated by EIA Deputy Administrator Howard Gruenspecht and feature EPA senior counsel Joseph Goffman and Tubman at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

Also tomorrow, the National Town Meeting on Demand Response and Smart Grid in Washington, D.C., will include a panel discussion by state regulators from Hawaii, the District of Columbia, Washington state and Maryland on changes underway in the electricity system where the potential effects of the Clean Power Plan cannot be ignored.

In case you missed it:

  • The nuclear industry is once again warning the Obama administration that a spate of more than a dozen reactor closures — present and future — threatens to sidetrack signature climate goals such as the Clean Power Plan (E&ENews PM, July 8).
  • Insults were exchanged as tempers flared at a House hearing that featured a grilling of EPA acting air chief Janet McCabe. The Clean Power Plan and its effect on the coal industry were focal points (ClimateWire, July 7).
  • Legislation making its way through the Massachusetts House could raise the renewable energy standard and establish an ambitious clean energy procurement program (ClimateWire, July 5).

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