Opinion: How nuclear plants are gaming climate-change rules

Salem Nuclear Power Plant

TRAVIS KAVULLA / POLITICO – Climate change is underway—and with the U.S. government mostly sitting on its hands when it comes to climate policy, states have been stepping into the breach. For more than a decade, state officials have been adopting procurement mandates to grow the share of electricity needs supplied by solar, wind and other renewable technologies. Today, such laws are in force in 29 states. As renewable technologies have grown in scale, cost has declined. Indeed, these laws have been so effective at reducing the cost of renewables that it is not readily apparent that such mandates are a necessary driver for decarbonization. A recent report by Energy Innovation, an independent research firm, suggests three-quarters of the U.S. coal fleet could be replaced today by renewables solely for economic reasons.

Yet these laws remain on the books, and recently some of the nation’s largest energy producers have started to turn them to their own benefit …

Travis Kavulla is director of energy and environment policy at the R Street Institute.

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