Monday, June 22, 2009

MidAmerican Energy Supports Cap, But Not the Trade

Here is an issue that business and industry in the Carroll Area should watch closely.

MidAmerican Energy, the electric provider in Carroll, is contacting economic development organizations in their service territory concerning proposed amendments to the Clean Air Act. In a discussion with company president Bill Fehrman last week, I learned about MidAmerican's position on the Waxman-Markey bill which would establish a cap and trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

MidAmerican supports the 80% carbon emission reductions by 2050 called for in the bill. But the current level of emissions, already reduced by a significant commitment to wind energy generation, will cause the company to purchase allowances for emissions beginning in 2012.

MidAmerican believes the electric sector can achieve the 80% reduction in emissions by 2050, while avoiding the up-front costs of emissions allowances. The approach MidAmerican advocates would allow each state, through legislative action approved by the state’s governor, to select the option for its regulated utilities.

Either be subject to the federal allowance trading program or meet the federal CO2 emissions reduction goals by other means, such as using carbon dioxide (if the technology becomes available), retiring or changing the operation of fossil-fueled units. production would be replaced with zero carbon-emissions generation (renewable energy).

In contrast to a trading mechanism, this alternative would actually guarantee a reduction in carbon emissions and avoid the double jeopardy imposed on customers of having to pay both for allowances and replacement power, according to MidAmerican.

Read MidAmerican Energy Chairman David Sokol's recent article in the Washington Post:

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