The Climate Bill is Already Killing Coal Plants


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The largest utility company in Arizona has no plans to build another coal plant, despite the fact that energy demand is scheduled to rise 50% over the next 15 years. NV Energy, another utility with 2.4 million customers, is putting its only scheduled coal plant on hold indefinitely--until carbon capture becomes viable. These are just a couple of the utility companies that are willingly killing plans for coal power to prepare for laws that would put a price on carbon. Here's how the mere specter of a climate bill is phasing out coal--and how a good bill could finish the job without damaging the economy. We spend a lot of time lashing out at utility and coal companies (and justifiably so) that are impeding the progress of climate legislation with dirty tricks and heavy lobbying. But the fact is, there are plenty of utilities who see an opportunity to get a jump on investing in clean energy.

Green Inc reports:

Some of the largest electric utilities in the American Southwest are shifting away from coal-fired power generation and toward an increased reliance on renewables and energy efficiency -- in part due to the gathering momentum behind carbon cap-and-trade legislation at the federal level.

Another such company is PNM Resources, a Texas utility with nearly 1 million customers. It's pushing for carbon pricing outright, certainly sensing a business opportunity. And with major utility companies (PG&E;, Exelon) leaving the US Chamber of Commerce and citing the organization's impediment to climate progress as the reason, there's reason to be optimistic about an energy reform bill.

While companies in more coal-dependent states will no doubt be harder to persuade, the principle should be noted: profitable business plans can and will be made, even under carbon pricing. It's also important to note that the climate bill is making an impact--even if it's not as strong as many would like, it's sending the signal that coal's time is running out, and forward-looking companies are taking note.

More on the Climate Bill
Senate Climate Bill Delayed - Why That's Not Such a Bad Thing
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