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US energy giant sounds alarm on Biden's climate rules targeting power plants


Duke Energy, one of the nation’s largest energy providers, is warning that the Biden administration’s newly finalized power plant regulations will threaten the reliability and affordability of power supplies.

The North Carolina-based company — which serves more than eight million residential and commercial customers across several states, mainly in the Southeast — warned that the regulations could further present challenges given the growing electricity demand nationwide. On Thursday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the White House unveiled the rules targeting fossil fuel-fired power plants.

“Duke Energy’s 8.4 million customers expect and deserve affordable, reliable and increasingly clean energy,” Duke Energy spokesperson Kaitlin Kirshner said in a statement to Fox News Digital. “Our charge — and we believe the charge of policymakers — is to optimize those three customer needs — not solve for one.”

“The final rule presents significant challenges to customer reliability and affordability, as well as limits the potential of our ability to be a global leader in chips, artificial intelligence and advanced manufacturing,” she continued.

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION RIGGED INTERNAL ANALYSIS, SOFTENING BLOW OF POWER PLANT REGULATIONS: REPORT

President Biden, power plant split

Several industry associations representing power providers warned the Biden administration’s regulations would threaten the stability of the nation’s power grid. (Getty Images)

Under the regulations, all coal-fired plants that are slated to remain operational in the long-term and all new, baseload gas-fired plants will be required to control 90% of their carbon emissions. The rulemaking also tightens emissions standards for coal-fired plants related to toxic metal and wastewater discharge.

EPA and White House officials said the suite of environmental rules would help the U.S. achieve President Biden’s goals of decarbonizing the nation’s power grid. Shortly after he took office, Biden pledged to enable the nation to achieve an up to 52% total emission reduction by 2030 and to create a carbon-free power sector by 2035.

The resistance from Duke Energy, though, underscores the tension between Biden’s ambitious, renewable energy goals and power companies that will ultimately be tasked with transitioning their fleets to ones dominated by green energy sources, namely wind and solar. According to federal data, natural gas and coal currently generate 43% and 16% of the nation’s electricity, respectively, while wind and solar generate 10% and 4%.

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“The path outlined by the EPA today is unlawful, unrealistic and unachievable,” said National Rural Electric Cooperative Association CEO Jim Matheson. “It undermines electric reliability and poses grave consequences for an already stressed electric grid. The American economy can’t succeed without reliable electricity. Smart energy policy recognizes that fundamental truth and works to help keep the lights on.”

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Michael Regan

“By developing these standards in a clear, transparent, inclusive manner, EPA is cutting pollution while ensuring that power companies can make smart investments and continue to deliver reliable electricity for all Americans,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan said Thursday in a statement. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

America’s Power, a group which advocates for coal power, emphasized that the regulations are an “extreme and unlawful overreach that endangers America’s supply of dependable and affordable electricity.”

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents the U.S. natural gas and oil industry, expressed concern that the administration failed to consider grid reliability and should instead remove barriers to building new power generation.

JOE MANCHIN THREATENS TO OPPOSE BIDEN NOMINEES OVER UPCOMING POWER PLANT CRACKDOWN

And Dan Brouillette, president and CEO of Edison Electric Institute, which represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies, applauded much of the EPA’s rulemaking, but criticized the agency’s reliance on carbon capture and storage (CCS). 

Emissions spew from a large stack at the coal fired Brandon Shores Power Plant

The coal-fired Brandon Shores Power Plant in Baltimore is one of several that are slated to close in the coming years. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

CCS, which the EPA says will play a key role in helping power plants achieve the stringent regulations, has been criticized as a costly and nascent technology that captures power plant emissions before they enter the atmosphere. 

“CCS is not yet ready for full-scale, economy-wide deployment, nor is there sufficient time to permit, finance and build the CCS infrastructure needed for compliance by 2032,” Brouillette said.

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Overall, as federal and state government agencies continue to push the electrification of the residential, commercial and transportation sectors, power demand is slated to grow 2.5% and 3.2% in 2024 and 2025, respectively, according to the Energy Information Administration. 

At the same time, a staggering 22.3 gigawatts of coal-fired electric generating capacity were retired in 2022 and 2023. Another 13 gigawatts are slated to be retired over the next two years.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment for purposes of this story. 



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