Upstate utilities respond to proposed carbon emission cuts - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate utilities respond to proposed carbon emission cuts

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A coal-fired power plant. (File/Associated Press) A coal-fired power plant. (File/Associated Press)

Some Upstate utility companies have responded to a proposal from the federal government that would require carbon emissions to be cut by more than half in the next 16 years.

Spokesperson Terry Ballenger with Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative said the proposed reduction of coal-fired power in South Carolina would have a dramatic impact, as it is the No. 1 generator of power in the state. He said coal produces about 40 percent of power in the state.

"If coal is taken off the table, the impact would be very substantial," Ballenger said.

Ballenger said he anticipates some legal challenges to the regulations from related industries that rely on coal.

A spokesperson with Duke Energy said the company is in the process of reviewing the proposal and its impact on customers' rates and the potential compliance's costs customers would ultimately bear.

"It is too soon to tell what impact EPA's proposed rule will have on our operations," Chad Eaton, spokesperson with Duke Energy's Federal Affairs department said. "We will be working closely with our states to evaluate the proposal and will be participating in the rulemaking process."

Additionally, Eaton said the company has already retired or plans to retire nearly 6,800 MW of older coal and large oil-fired capacity. He said the company's carbon dioxide emissions are nearly 20 percent lower than they were in 2005 and they are working on modernizing the remaining coal fleet.

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