Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Northeast States to Regulate Greenhouse Gases

From today's New York Times:

Officials in New York and eight other Northeastern states have come to a preliminary agreement to freeze power plant emissions at their current levels and then reduce them by 10 percent by 2020, according to a confidential draft proposal.

The cooperative action, the first of its kind in the nation, came after the Bush administration decided not to regulate the greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Once a final agreement is reached, the legislatures of the nine states will have to enact it, which is considered likely.

Enforcement of emission controls could potentially result in higher energy prices in the nine states, which officials hope can be offset by subsidies and support for the development of new technology that would be paid for with the proceeds from the sale of emission allowances to the utility companies.
The nine states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Of critical concern to the nuclear energy industry, is the question of whether or not nuclear generating capacity -- especially new nuclear generating capacity -- will qualify as a non-emitting source of electricity under this agreement. Currently, nuclear accounts for 75 percent of the non-emitting electrical generating capacity in the U.S. Without nuclear energy, emissions of all types of pollutants would be far higher both in the Northeast and nationally.

For more on the efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions in the region, also known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative or RGGI, click here and here.

2 comments:

Don kosloff said...

I doubt that RGGI will treat nuclear energy honestly and fairly. My doubts are based on two obvious factors.

First, the technical googooism of the states involved.

Second, the strongly biased and fundementally dishonest ny times would have raised an alarm in their story (the nyt carries only storie, never articles or news reports) if there had been even a hint of fair treatment in the RGGI fantasy.

Jim Hopf said...

I'm not sure that the concept of "qualifying" and a non-emitting source is even meaningful. What? Are they going to treat nuclear as an emitting source by somehow artificially "assigning" it some level of CO2 emissions? I think not.

The fact is that they will be required to reduce CO2, and nuclear doesn't add anything to overall emissions, the way any new fossil plant would. Thus, whereas nuclear may not get various goodies that may be doled out to certain favored energy options, nothing will stop this policy from giving nuclear a substantial advantage over all fossil fuels (which have always been by far its greatest real competitor).