In August 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its final rule governing existing power plant emissions of greenhouse gases. The Clean Power Plan (CPP) provides the first-ever national standards that address carbon emissions from existing power plants.
Implementation of the rule was expected to significantly restructure the composition and dispatch of the U.S. generation fleet. However, the rule has been the subject of years of litigation. Adding to this uncertainty, the EPA under the current Trump administration has announced a proposed repeal of the CPP, contending that its definition of “best system of emission reduction” was too expansive and that the rule impinged on state energy policy prerogatives. In response to the proposed repeal, a number of states have indicated that they will continue to pursue goals and targets established by the CPP.
This confluence of events and policy makes energy infrastructure investment—particularly power generation—challenging, contextual, and full of uncertainty. In preparation for potential alternative outcomes of the CPP, state directives, or in response to utility policy preferences, electric utilities must still design and plan their future generation portfolio as well as decide whether and when to retire existing, aging assets. As the importance of cleaner energy grows, that future portfolio is likely to include an emphasis on natural gas, nuclear, renewables, distributed energy resources, and consideration of demand-side measures like energy efficiency. This will ensure they continue to provide the cheapest and most reliable energy to their customers.
Today’s energy business will not be tomorrow’s energy business. Our experienced team of energy practitioners understands the roles a broad spectrum of resources play in an integrated, “no regrets” strategy. We don’t just help our clients understand the evolving energy landscape—we work with them to achieve business results in this landscape.