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Statement from JEA Regarding the Environmental Protection Agency’s Release of the Clean Power Plan Final Rule
Jacksonville, FL - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan is a complex rule, and as yet we do not know the full financial impact. The real challenge is to bring our community and state together to understand the rule so that we can attain a reasonable balance between the environmental benefits we all want and our ability to manage the cost impacts—as a utility, a community and as individual customers—in a reasonable and appropriate way. At JEA, we want to ensure that there is fairness and equity throughout the state as it relates to what customers will pay for their electric service. There are already many customers—in our own community and throughout the state—who currently struggle to pay their electric bill each month.
Since the initial rule was proposed last year, followed by a public comment period, the EPA has made some changes to the rule that may be advantageous from a timing standpoint regarding implementation. The final rule, as we understand it, extends the effective date for final compliance by a few years. In addition, it is also encouraging to see that the EPA recognizes the importance of utilities having a diverse portfolio of fuel sources to ensure reliability and cost management for its customers.
We are working to ensure that there is fairness and equity throughout the state as it relates to what customers will pay for their electric service. You can be assured that JEA will meet all requirements and will work hard to minimize any potential impacts on rates or reliability for our customers and community. Our ultimate focus while responding to the rule is to serve the best interests of our customers and our community in a financially and environmentally responsible way.
We, along with Florida’s 33 other public power utilities, are committed to reducing carbon emissions and using the cleanest, most dependable fuels available for the combined three million Floridians and businesses we serve. Decisions about supplying electricity to consumers are long-term in nature, and require balancing risk of fuel supply and prices, electric reliability, flexibility to switch fuels if necessary, long-term capital investments, the environmental impact of those fuels and the ability to provide affordable energy to all of our customers.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan establishes state-specific targets for carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the authority to regulate air pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions, under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. In order to comply with these regulations, states are required to develop and submit individual plans for reducing emissions and meeting the EPA's standard. As part of these compliance plans, states may elect to not only curb emissions from existing power plants, but also develop alternative energy solutions that result in fewer emissions.
The Clean Power Plan will require affected electric generating units (affected EGUs) within each state to reduce their carbon emissions, thus presenting the opportunity for utilities and states to shift towards sources that generate energy with little or no carbon emissions such as solar energy.
The initial Plan for existing power plants was proposed last year under the Clean Air Act Section 111(d):
- June 2, 2014 - EPA announces proposed Clean Power Plan to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants in States.
- June 18, 2014- Proposal publishes in Federal Register and 120-day public comment period begins.
- December 1, 2014- 165-day comment period ends. EPA receives more than 2 million public comments.