Electricity Reps: Indiana May Be Powerless In Fight Against Federal Clean Power Plan

Jan 20, 2016

Credit Paul J. Everett / https://www.flickr.com/photos/paul_everett82/1680881189

Indiana is one of 26 states suing to block the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan -- but a utility trade association is advising legislators to assume the rule will stand.

The Clean Power Plan requires states to cut carbon emissions by one-third in 14 years.

Karen Obenshain with the Edison Electric Institute says the wisdom of the plan may be questioned, but it appears to pass legal muster.

Court precedent requires a showing of substantial and immediate economic harm to block a rule from taking effect, and Obenshain says while utilities have objections to the rule, it'll be difficult to meet that standard.

Christine Csizmadia with the Nuclear Energy Institute says the Obama Administration’s proposal should lead to wider use of nuclear power.

“The rule regulates emissions, it doesn’t regulate generation,” Csizmadia says. “So, if you’re looking at the carbon reduction goals of certain states, it’s very difficult – if not impossible – to meet them without these large-generating, low-carbon generators.”

Without a stay, Obenshain says it's likely to take a couple of years for the case to work its way through the courts, and regulators are requiring states to submit plans by September.

And Richard Benedict with energy storage company AES says recent advances allow power plants to run more efficiently.

“Before we had cost-effective energy storage, we had to run many power plants less than optimally so that there would always be enough electricity there to meet demand,” Benedict says. “And by having storage in the system, we can make those plants more efficient.”

Industry and environmental leaders testified about the plan before the Senate Utilities Committee at a hearing this week on the future of energy.