Followup: EPA announces its Clean Power Plan

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The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled in August its Clean Power Plan, seeking reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants.

While the plan made reductions more stringent overall, it relaxed requirements for Virginia power plants. Gov. Terry McAuliffe had appealed to the agency after proposals were released last year, saying that they did not take in account efforts already mounted in the commonwealth to reduce emissions.

The plan announced in August gives states more time to come up with emission reduction plans and meet initial targets.

The plan’s goal is to cut carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent by the year 2030, compared with 2005 levels. The plan rewards states and utilities companies that promptly expand their use of wind and solar power in generating electricity.

While applauding some revisions in the plan, Dominion Virginia Power said it does not take into account that nuclear reactors generate about 40 percent of its power. Dominion Virginia Power is the state’s largest electric utility.

The Wall Street Journal reported that energy industry groups and some states are expected to challenge the plan in court.

Virginia Business reviewed the commonwealth’s changing mix of power generating sources in its August issue. The state’s utilities are moving more toward natural gas and renewable sources instead of coal-fired power plants.

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