Clean Power Plan Means Reduced Coal Emissions, Safer Utility Business Model

As You Sow Applauds Historic Energy Regulation

Aug 03, 2015, 19:57 ET from As You Sow

OAKLAND, Calif., Aug. 3, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the Clean Power Plan, a landmark regulation that will benefit consumers, businesses, and the environment alike. The Clean Power Plan has the potential to revolutionize the electric power sector by speeding the transition from coal to renewable power – a move that would make utilities a safer investment. In his remarks, President Obama described the Clean Power Plan as "the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change."

The Clean Power Plan will allow states flexibility in the methods used to reduce air pollution, while creating standards that will lower overall pollution levels. The plan requires states to cut carbon pollution by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, using their preferred combination of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and pollution reduction technologies. These building blocks are critical to displacing coal-based power, which has a long history of causing health and environmental devastation, yet remains a significant portion of many utilities' power mix.

"The Clean Power Plan is long overdue. Cleaner, safer, energy solutions are emerging and utilities that adopt these low-cost clean energy solutions – rather than fighting to delay them – are likely to be the most profitable," said Amelia Timbers, Energy Program Manager at As You Sow. "By discouraging coal, the plan lowers risk for utility investors, and improves the power sector's long term prospects."

Coal use is also fraught with financial risk, a fact that markets have been aware of for years. In 2011, As You Sow published The Financial Risks of Investments in Coal, a key report that predicted the imminent collapse of the coal market. Similar risks face the utility industry as the environmental, public health, and regulatory risks of coal add up to potentially large future liabilities – financial risks that have not been adequately or transparently communicated to investors. By requiring that states reduce carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan will help to protect investors from both the environmental and the financial risks of coal.

As You Sow has been pushing utilities to reduce coal use, adopt renewable energy, and improve climate performance for years. In 2015, over $10 billion in shares voted in favor of shareholder resolutions put forward by As You Sow and other co-investors.

CONTACT: Andrew Montes, (510) 735-8144, amontes@asyousow.org

 

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