Will the Obama administration’s new rules on carbon emissions from power plants spike power prices in Pennsylvania by 26 percent? Or will electricity customers see their monthly bills decline 7 percent?
Both figures have been presented as possibilities within models touted by interest groups assessing the Clean Power Plan, an historic climate change rule finalized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in August.
The rule — which in essence creates a hypothetical grid that by 2030 meets power demand while emitting 32 percent less carbon dioxide than in 2005 — is complex; and every model has limitations.
But the differences among the conclusions show the wide gulf between groups on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, even on the basic underlying assumptions.
As the Clean Power Plan was presented to global leaders last week at the Paris climate change summit, the assessments, aimed at persuading state officials tasked with drawing up a plan to meet individual targets, fed divisions at home.
No cheap option
Some points of dispute are the rule’s effect on coal-fired power plants and the roles of energy efficiency and renewable technology in compliance.
“There’s no cheap option,” said Luke Popovich, vice president for external affairs at the National Mining Association. “What the administration is trying to do to is basically exchange affordable energy sources to more costly energy sources.”
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- On December 9, 2015