No clear path forward for energy projects: Regulatory initiatives sow uncertainty among producers.


During the past two years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been extraordinarily active in proposing and finalizing new air quality, water and waste regulations that may have profound implications for the way the United States generates electricity. At the same time, the United States faces a significant gap between projected electricity demand and supplies.

The new regulatory environment created by the Obama administration’s EPA will present significant challenges that will need to be overcome by policymakers, electric utilities and project developers.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration, part of the Department of Energy, predicts that American electricity demand will increase by 30% by 2035. Energy Information Institute, Annual Energy Outlook 2010 with Projections to 2035 65 (DOE/EIA-0382) (April 2010). With the expected retirement of 45,000 megawatts of generation capacity, the agency predicts 250,000 additional megawatts of new generation capacity will be needed by 2035. Id. at 65. This is the equivalent of 208 new 1,200-megawatt nuclear reactors.

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