Utilities Uncertain As Environmental Regulations Loom

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
The EPA’s proposal to regulate power plant carbon dioxide emissions was among the topics of discussion at an energy conference in St. Louis. | Courtesy of Creative Commons

Representatives of utilities, power generators, transmission operators, regulators and other entities involved in the electric industry gathered in St. Louis and talked about looming threats to the industry.

“Every element of the business model is being challenged and needs to be re-examined,” Brad Kitchens, president and CEO of energy consultancy ScottMadden, said at the annual meeting of the organization that runs the Midwest’s wholesale electric grid.

Influencing every decision the industry makes are stricter environmental rules, especially the Environmental Protection Agency’s landmark proposal to regulate power plant carbon dioxide emissions. While natural gas and renewables dominated the conversation, executives barely mentioned new coal generation, and many were skeptical that carbon regulations alone would solve the nuclear industry’s woes.

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