Special Report

EPA inventory opens generators to scrutiny, especially if they burn coal.

Hazardous emissions are one thing. Damaging publicity is something else-especially in the point-and-click world of Internet access.

In the coming year, the fuels that utilities choose to generate electricity will fall under a stronger media microscope. That's when coal- and oil-fired electricity generators must begin reporting information about their accumulated releases of toxic chemicals for 1998.

Ready for CO2 Allowances? U.S. Passes on Emissions Cap, Kyoto or No

FOILING EXPECTATIONS OF BOTH SUPPORTERS AND detractors, the Clinton Administration's proposed electric restructuring legislation offered no new policy on carbon-dioxide emissions, such as a cap-and-trade program similar to that already in place for sulfur dioxide.

But don't breath a sigh of relief. The debate has only begun.

Many observers see the Administration's tactics on CO2 as an obvious attempt to sidestep a highly sensitive political issue. They appear to agree that at some point the Administration must confront CO2 emissions.

Green Electricity: It's in the Eye of the Beholder

SOME PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW WHAT "GREEN POWER" means (em and, by extension, "environmentally friendly." Does that mean low emissions, including nuclear energy? Is renewable energy automatically green? Should the simple fact of compliance with all standards imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency afford the right to advertise power generation as green?

Consumers, agencies and state and federal officials want truth in advertising. Proponents of alternative generation claim consumers are willing to pay more for cleaner, greener energy.

Looking Back on SO2 Trading: What's Good for the Environment Is Good for the Market

The overwhelming impression is one of growth (em in volume and in the number of participants.

The early 1990s was an anxious period for advocates of emissions trading. Concerns about whether the sulfur dioxide allowance market would ever develop tempered the heady success of the first national emissions trading program implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Title IV. These concerns were heightened when in May 1992, Wisconsin Power & Light traded 10,000 allowances to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

International Opportunities

Competition in electricity is part of a general trend toward deregulation (em from airlines to stock markets (em that characterized economic evolution in much of the western world during the 1980s. The move to liberalize electricity in some countries has been spurred on by the disenchantment of politicians and large customers with the traditional monopolistic arrangements. Monopoly not only prevented customer choice, but was increasingly seen as inefficient and paternalistic.