Jacksonville, FL - At the federal level, the Trump Administration is calling it an end to the “war on coal”.
For your budget, it doesn’t look like it will make a big difference, at least in the near future.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Monday that he will issue a new set of rules Tuesday to reverse course on the “Clean Power Plan”- which was put forward under former President Obama to cut US carbon dioxide emissions. WOKV reached out to local utilities to see what the change means for them- and ultimately you.
Florida Power & Light Spokesman Stephen Heiman tells WOKV they have been in compliance with the intended guidelines of CPP since 2015. He says the change at the federal level will not change anything they have already put in place.
JEA says any plans relating to CPP were essentially on hold already, because the Supreme Court had blocked enforcement, so they were waiting for more information.
“We have been, and continue to, follow industry/market economics and cost factors. If, and/or when, we get new regulations, we will work them into the plan and make sure we are in compliance,” says a statement from JEA Spokeswoman Gerri Boyce.
JEA and FPL are in the process of decommissioning the St. Johns River Power Park. During a previous interview with WOKV, JEA said federal environmental regulations were one of the factors considered in their decision.
Federal regulations have also been a guiding force influencing Clay Electric customers. Clay Electric is a “distribution electric cooperative”, meaning they purchase wholesale power to distribute as opposed to generating it themselves- so the federal regulations didn’t have any direct impact on what they do. In light of that, WOKV went to Seminole Electric Cooperative, which generates and transmits electric to Clay Electric and others.
“Our plan is a balanced approach that will let us generate power more competitively with natural gas, while managing the risk and unpredictability of future policy changes related to carbon emissions associated with coal,” says Seminole Electric Manager of Communications and Energy Policy Ryan Hart.
Hart says, for the last few years, Seminole has been focused on long term planning. While the uncertainty around federal regulations was a part of that conversation, he says the plan they put together was not a direct result of CPP. Despite that, the long term plan does include removing one of two coal-fired generating units at the Seminole Generating Station in about five years. At that site in Putnam County, they will be building a new gas-fired generating plant.
“That was going to happen regardless of what happened with the Clean Power Plan,” he says.
Seminole is also looking at other purchased power agreements and new solar resources.
“Our focus ultiamtely though our process had been to find the most cost effective resource managed solution,” Hart says.
Overall, he says the plan they put together lets them manage risk and uncertainty, to give the best return for you.