The Commercial Appeal

Climate plan tackles carbon emissions

Obama proposal seeks to reduce coal

- By Jonathan Fahey Associated Press

NEW YORK — America is slowly moving toward cleaner sources of energy and using less of it overall. President Barack Obama’s plan to fight climate change will accelerate those trends.

The measures announced last week aim to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, increase America’s reliance on renewable energy sources and make trucks, homes and businesses more efficient.

Some parts of the plan will take months to work out and years to go into full effect. The most ambitious part of the plan seeks to rein in one of the biggest sources of carbon dioxide: coal-fired power plants.

Obama will direct the U.S. Environmen­tal Protection Agency to develop standards that limit powerplant emissions of carbon dioxide. States would then be able to create rules to comply with the standards.

Obama also seeks to increase funding for clean energy research by 30 percent to $7.9 billion and make available $8 billion in federal loan guarantees to projects that could help capture and bury the carbon dioxide produced at power plants.

Here’s how the plan will likely affect companies and consumers:


Homeowners and businesses will likely pay more for electricit­y because the nation will be relying less on coal, which has historical­ly been the cheapest way to produce electricit­y.

But more efficient homes and appliances are helping reduce energy consumptio­n, which will likely offset at least some of the higher electricit­y cost.

A 20 percent nationwide reduction in carbon dioxide emissions

J. Taliaferro M. Oates has joined Mercer Capital as a financial analyst.

Lane Belisomo with Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens & Cannada joined the board of directors of the Tennessee Intellectu­al Property Law Associatio­n as secretary.

Dr. Linda Smiley with the West Clinic has been appointed to serve on the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative Steering Group by the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Bill Snodgrass, formerly the director of pastoral care at the Visible Music College Memphis campus, will join the Chicago campus as executive director.

The following have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examinatio­n: Ethan A. Bryant and Dustin M. Morgan, Arlington; Wagner A. Gurkin, Colliervil­le; Staci L. Kraft, Jennifer R. Landry, Jeremy A. Shannon and Ronald C. Thompson II, Cordova; Clay M. Crockett Jr., Covington; Sara G. Allen, John T. Browning, Benjamin D.


Linda Smiley Collins, Andrew T. Greer, Samuel C. Griffin and Hunter S. Hamlet, Germantown, and Ann S. Atkinson, Travis T. Black, Andrew D. Power, Kimberly A. Tryon and Ling Zhang, Memphis.

Tim Bolding, executive director of United Housing, has received the Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership Award.

SRVS has been awarded the Agency of Distinctio­n by The Arc of Tennessee. Rotary Club: noon, University Club, 1346 Central. Speaker: Jim Strickland, Memphis City Council Budget chairman. Fee: $18. RSVP to taylor@memphisrot­


E-mail informatio­n and photos for People in Business to cabiznews@commercial­ would increase retail power prices by about 1 cent per kilowatt hour, or 9 percent, estimates Hugh Wynne, an analyst at Bernstein Research.

At current rates of electricit­y use, that would add $9 or so to an average American’s monthly bill. Obama’s plan seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 17 percent from their 2005 level by 2020.

Nick Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, one of the nation’s largest utilities, said that as long as utilities like his are given enough time to transition to a cleaner fleet of power plants, Obama’s plan can be carried out “without a major impact to customers or the economy.”


Power plants account for 40 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, and most of those emissions come from burning coal.

To reduce these emissions, power companies will have to run coal plants less often, install equipment that captures carbon dioxide and in some cases shut down plants that become too expensive to operate.

The costs to make these changes are likely so great that utilities would instead generate more power with natural gas, nuclear, wind and solar power, which will become comparativ­ely less expensive and more profitable.

As a result, very few, if any, new coal-fired plants will be built.

The stock prices of the nation’s biggest coal miners, including Peabody Energy Corp., Alpha Natural Resources Inc. and Arch Coal Inc., could remain low.

The financial effect on utilities that rely heavily on coal, such as NRG Energy and First Energy, is unclear. While coal-fired power will become more costly, that will be offset by higher electricit­y prices.

The plan offers clear benefits to natural gas producers such as Exxon Mobil and Chesapeake Energy and to utilities such as Exelon, Entergy and Calpine, which generate large amounts of electricit­y using low- carbon sources like nuclear power and natural gas.


By directing the U. S. Department of the Interior to accelerate permits to clean energy developers who want to use public land, Obama will make it less expensive for companies to build wind, solar and geothermal energy projects.

This will help companies that provide equipment for, build and finance large wind and solar farms, such as First Solar, SunPower, General Electric and Siemens.


Companies that install windows, insulation and heating and cooling systems stand to benefit from Obama’s plan, which will give homeowners and businesses incentives to invest in energy-efficiency improvemen­ts. While the upfront costs can be high, the long-term savings can be significan­t.

Obama also wants the EPA to develop new fuel efficiency standards for heavy trucks, which are the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the transporta­tion sector after cars. Obama implemente­d new fuel economy standards for cars through 2025.

These new standards for trucks would go into effect for trucks made in 2018 and beyond. Engine-makers and parts suppliers that succeed in developing fuel-efficient technologi­es could benefit. While trucking companies may face higher equipment costs at first, their fuel bills will decline.

 ??  ?? ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES Smoke rises from the stacks of the La Cygne Generating Station coal-fired power plant in La Cygne, Kan. President Barack Obama’s plan seeks to cut emissions from burning coal.
ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES Smoke rises from the stacks of the La Cygne Generating Station coal-fired power plant in La Cygne, Kan. President Barack Obama’s plan seeks to cut emissions from burning coal.
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Bill Snodgrass
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Tim Bolding
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