Area Energy Providers Mull Effect Of New Federal Climate Plan

Aug 3, 2015

Utility companies that operate coal-burning power plants in the area say they’re exploring how new federal carbon emissions rules will affect them and their customers.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday released its Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce greenhouse gases by nearly a third in the next 15 years.

A spokesman for the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, which operates the Nearman Creek Power Station in Kansas City, Kansas, said it was unclear how the plan would play out.

“It’s really too early to tell,” the spokesman, David Mehlhaff, said. “There wasn’t a lot of surprises in there but at this point, we’re going to do a preliminary analysis of the rules over the next couple of days.”

The EPA’s plan is meant to slow climate change and to create jobs through the promotion of renewable energy.

Kansas City Power and Light Co., the electric utility that serves the Kansas City metropolitan area, says the plan could lead to price hikes.

“Carbon emission reductions goals have been increased and this will likely further raise rates on our customers,” Chuck Caisley, KCP&L vice president of marketing and public affairs, said in a statement.

KCP&L, which operates coal-burning plants in Missouri and Kansas, says it will work with agencies in both states to develop implementation plans.

There’s been some movement away from coal energy already.

KCP&L announced in January that it would stop burning coal at three plants by Dec. 31, 2016.

The utility said that Lake Road Station in St. Joseph, Missouri, will change to natural gas. And it said it would decide whether to retire the Montrose Station plant in Clinton, Missouri, and Sibley Generation Station in Sibley, Missouri, or convert them to alternative fuel sources.

Alex Smith is a reporter for KCUR, a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor team.