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How will the energy landscape change after EPAs new emissions rule?

Utility companies and state regulators will need to rewire the electrical grid to accommodate more renewable power.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established new rules on greenhouse gases, accelerating a shift to cleaner fuels, renewable energy and consumer choice.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “utility companies and state regulators will need to rewire the electrical grid to accommodate more renewable power.”

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The new rule states that carbon emissions must be reduced 32 percent by 2030, requiring billions of dollars in investments to pay for new transmission lines that accommodate for more solar and wind power. New pipelines to fuel natural gas-fired generation will also be required.

“Utilities already are moving in that direction by retiring coal plants and adding renewables,” Nick Akins, chief executive of Ohio-based American Electric Power Co., one of the nation’s biggest utilities, which has been a major user of coal, told WSJ.

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Akins added that executives are worried about the plan’s cost, partly because it could result in shuttering power plants that are yet to be paid off.

The new rule “will act like an accelerant,” Ted Craver, chief executive of California-based Edison International, parent of Southern California Edison, added. “Now all the states will have to grapple with the need to reduce carbon emissions.”

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The final rule will call for the nation to get 28 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2030, versus the roughly 13 percent it got last year. States will have to put in place compliance plans by 2018 and meet their first targets for reductions by 2022.

“Things are moving so fast,” said Michael Picker, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, the state’s utility regulator. “Every executive I talk with says there’s been more change in the past five to seven years than in the last 100 years. And it will accelerate now.”

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[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal]

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