Tuesday, December 28, 2010

On Scepticism & EPA Policy Support by Utilities

The lead staff editorial in one of last week's Wall Street Journal editorials teaches scepticism when one hears private sector support for EPA energy policies.

Specifically, the EPA is issuing new pollutant rulings aimed at coal-fired plants. The intended result is to force the mothballing of large amounts of comparatively inexpensive existing electricity generation capacity.

Guess who the supportive private sector utility execs are? Why, the leaders of predominantly non-coal-fired utilities, of course. Folks who have bet on other technologies, like John Rowe of Exelon. NextEra, a wind- and solar-power generator, is also lining up behind the EPA.

Clearly, one has to take private sector endorsements of government policy with a grain of salt. They are unlikely to be altruistic or without an agenda.

Instead, we see the age-old game of one group of executives getting behind a political issue and piling on those who are less-advantaged.

This is hardly the way our society should be allocating capital or choosing winners and losers in the energy generation sector.

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