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GHG Compliance Complexities

Greenhouse-gas regulation will impose vastly greater compliance difficulties than did the Acid Rain program.

Fortnightly Magazine - February 2008

demonstrated in the next decade. And proposals for new nuclear capacity are surfacing around the country—a hedge against both the regulatory and technology uncertainties utilities face (see “ Financing New Nukes ”). Negotiating compensation for new investments with PUCs will be a challenge, requiring additional entrepreneurial skills that go beyond the traditional skill set.

In this changing landscape, strategic planning will become more important and more complicated for U.S. utility companies. There will be a need for much more sophisticated analyses using decision theory or other models to scope and evaluate options with huge, long-term investment costs. Losses from guessing wrong can be financially severe. New planning capacities with broader technical proficiencies will be the keys to success under a compliance regime that will be vastly more complex and costly than anything utilities have previously faced.

The good news is that despite the enormity of the challenges, there are promising options for breaking new paths to a less carbon-intensive future.