Roles for State Energy Regulators in Climate Change Mitigation
Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law, Vol. 2, p. 67
58 Pages Posted: 16 May 2012 Last revised: 29 Jan 2013
Date Written: May 15, 2012
The construction of new power plants in the United States carries the risk of significantly contributing to global climate change. After concluding that the current federal regulatory response to climate change risks from power plants is inadequate, this Article examines three potential roles for state energy regulators to play as a bridge climate mitigation strategy until a cohesive federal policy is enacted. State energy regulators have received relatively little attention as potential climate change regulators, but they are well positioned to analyze and mitigate climate change risks from new power plants. The Article considers the advantages and drawbacks of state energy regulators considering GHG risks in traditional utility regulatory proceedings. It describes an innovative strategy used by the State of Michigan to incorporate state energy regulators into state environmental permitting proceedings. Finally, the Article considers a more dramatic proposal to merge energy and environmental considerations into a single power plant siting regulatory process where state energy regulators affirmatively decide what type of power plant to build and use a competitive bidding process to select a private owner of the plant.
Keywords: energy, climate change, power, electricity, regulation
JEL Classification: D62, K23, K32, L22, L43, L51, L94, 038, P11, Q20, Q21, Q25, Q28, Q30, Q31, Q38, Q40, Q41, Q42, Q48
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