With the proposed Clean Power Plan on track to becoming a finalized rule this summer, many states and individual utilities have been taking early measures towards compliance.
Florida Power & Light Announces 225 MW Solar Installation
On January 26, Florida Power & Light (FPL) announced plans to construct three new solar photovoltaic plants totaling 225 MW in capacity, equivalent to approximately 45,000 residential rooftop solar systems. The additions, expected to be completed by the end of 2016, will nearly triple the amount of utility-scale solar that FPL operates today and will be installed in conjunction with a new waste-to-energy plant and a natural gas combined cycle facility. Eric Silagy, president and CEO of FPL, commented on the upcoming changes, stating “As the economics of solar power improve in the years ahead, we believe we will be able to harness more and more sunshine cost-effectively, alongside essential, high-efficiency, clean natural gas generation and zero-emissions nuclear power, to continue powering our customers and the state's growing economy with affordable clean energy.” FPL is the third largest electricity provider in the United States and has one of the cleanest power fleets in the country. These early actions towards generating cleaner electricity will put FPL on a fast track towards meeting the carbon reduction requirements outlined in the Clean Power Plan.
For more information, see: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/fpl-announces-plans-to-install-more-than-1-million-solar-panels-at-three-additional-solar-power-plants-as-part-of-continued-strategy-of-advancing-affordable-clean-energy-in-florida-300025619.html
Colorado General Assembly Proposes Framework for Compliance Plan Review
Just one week into the 2015 legislative session, the Colorado senate proposed Bill 15-092, which outlines a coordinated review process that would occur before the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment can adopt the Colorado’s CPP compliance plan. If passed, the bill will require that the state compliance plan be:
- Reviewed by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) to determine likely customer rate impacts
- Limited in rate impacts to 2% or less in average annual increases
- Approved by the PUC and Department of Public Health and Environment and accompanied by a report summarizing the effects of the plan on rates, reliability, and Colorado's economy
- Adopted by both houses of the general assembly
- Subject to annual review by utilities with regard to its effects on reliability
The framework will ensure that the proposed compliance plan has received input from both state regulatory and technical parties. The rate increase cap set forth in the framework will likely limit, however, the types of technology that utilities can rely upon for compliance and may dictate the utilities’ technology adoption schedule. Despite these possible restrictions, early framework adoption and socialization of CPP requirements may ease the transition to cleaner fuel generation and seeks to ensure compliance is achieved through minimal impact to rate payers.
Michigan Governor Calls for Reduction in Dependence on Coal
On January 20th during his State of the State address, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder spoke about the state’s need for a long term energy policy, stating “We need to focus in on important things, such as eliminating energy waste and the conversion from coal to natural gas assets, of the state of Michigan and renewables.” Currently, more than half of Michigan’s electricity is produced from coal. Once finalized, the Clean Power Plan (CPP) will require that Michigan cut carbon emissions by 31% from 2012 levels by 2030. While Snyder has made a commitment to lessening the state’s dependence on fossil fuels, any statements from the governor’s office regarding how these targets will be met have yet to be made. There is speculation among environmental groups that initial steps towards compliance might be taken by extending Michigan’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is set to plateau at 10% this year. A report released in January 2015 by the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute concluded that the RPS could be ramped up to 25% over the next 10 years while raising the average cost of electricity by just $2.60 per month per household. The conversation in Michigan has certainly turned towards addressing the state’s energy challenges, and eyes will be turned to Governor Snyder in the coming months to see how his office plans to address them.
For more information, see: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/snyder/2015_Michigan_SOTS_Transcript_479562_7.pdf