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Item #d98may95

The Clinton Administration has announced another component of its plan to meet the goals of the Kyoto Protocol: restructuring the U.S. electric utility industry. Although the movement to bring market forces into play within the utility industry and allow customer choice of electricity suppliers has developed independently of greenhouse gas concerns, the Administration and environmental advocates have viewed the process as a prime opportunity to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

The Administration estimates that the plan, released in late March 1998, would reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 25-40 million metric tons in 2010, through the economic incentives competition would provide to cut energy waste. It would require that at least 5.5% of electricity sold in 2010 be generated by nonhydroelectric, renewable sources, and provides a fund for energy efficiency programs and demonstration of emerging technologies.

The plan drew mixed reactions from those advocating greenhouse gas control, because it does not include direct regulation of CO2 emissions. (The EPA stated that it intends to work with Congress separately on a program for CO2 limits and trading.) Other legislative proposals for utility restructuring exist, but Congress may not deal with the issue this year.

See Intl. Environ. Rptr., pp. 314-315, Apr. 1, 1998. The plan is available on the Department of Energy Web site at

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