Utilities monitor potential impact of Clean Power Plan’s end
Utilities in the region say they will study the proposals offered up this week by President Trump that seek to eliminate the Clean Power Plan.
Scott Pruitt, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Agency, said he will be issuing a new set of rules meant to override the Clean Power Plan by the Obama administration. The move already is being couched as a major victory for the coal industry, which had criticized the plan as placing too many restrictions on its fuel production.
Kansas City Power & Light, which last year completed modifications to its aging coal-fired Lake Road Generating Station on the South Side to conform to the act, issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon: “KCP&L remains committed to renewable generation and energy efficiency. We strive to be good stewards of our environmental resources and these commitments will reduce our overall carbon dioxide emissions. We will continue to monitor what happens with (the) Clean Power Plan repeal proposal and subsequent potential final rules.”
Utility officials said a switch in energy resources for the station, built in 1934, brought KCP&L in concert with current environmental rules.
Modifications to one of the boilers at the South Side facility, located at 1413 Lower Lake Road, illustrated a commitment to burning cleaner forms of energy under the plan, which was enacted under the Obama presidency. The alterations met the EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, which require power plants to limit emissions of mercury and other air pollutants, such as arsenic and metals. They also helped form part of a system that’s been necessary to respond to peak demand times.
KCP&L added that it has not made any other announcements about projects for Lake Road.
The leader of another utility, United Electric Cooperative, is embracing the changed emphasis. Jim Bagley, the co-op’s chief executive officer, said Pruitt had toured a coal plant with officials in touting the industry’s relevance despite gains in green energy.
Bagley said the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives, of which United is a member, has been focused on diversifying its operations and completing modifications in line with the Obama plan. He explained the co-operative’s stance on the issue.
“We appreciate the direction (Pruitt) is taking,” Bagley said, adding the co-op welcomes the Trump administration’s views on scaling back regulations he termed as “economically burdensome.”
Bagley said the co-op nonetheless still recognizes the importance of maintaining an environmentally responsible position in its efforts to supply energy to customers.
Ameren, a utility which serves customers in several Northwest Missouri counties, released its own statement.