How Can a State Circumvent Emissions Laws? Import Dirty Power

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SNL Financial: “Carbon laws are choking demand for coal-fired power in California, but the state still imports a large amount of coal-based power and is one of the nation’s top industrial users of coal, providing a needed market for Western producers facing dimming prospects elsewhere.” “California’s carbon law AB 32, which requires the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to return to 1990 levels by 2020, sets in-state plant performance standards that are too stringent for conventional coal units. But California is still importing coal-based power from neighboring states until current power purchase and plant ownership contracts expire.” “But at times, as much as 50% of Southern California’s electricity still comes from coal-fired plants, Steve Homer, director of project management for the Southern California Public Power Authority, or SCPPA, told SNL Energy.” “The three main out-of-state coal plants serving California — the Intermountain Power Project in Utah, the San Juan plant in New Mexico and the Navajo plant in Arizona — together received 10.1 million tons of coal in the first seven months of 2015, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration data. On an annualized basis, that would total about 17.4 million tons for the full year, or 2.2% of projected U.S. power sector coal burn for 2015, based on the EIA’s latest ‘Short-Term Energy Outlook.'” “Although California is committed to going coal free, SCPPA’s Homer said the transition will be ‘expensive for ratepayers’ and ‘of course there are reliability concerns.'”
Topics: wonk-wire