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Energy industry needs more time to meet clean power goals, report says

A vastly changed power generation mix will be the result of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plan to reduce greenhouse gases from existing power plants, but industry and utilities will need more time to build it, said a federally designated overseer of the nation’s grid reliability in an analysis last week.

The North American Electric Reliability Corp. predicts a wave of retirements of coal-fired power plants and the rise of natural gas-fired plants to replace them. But the organization designated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to ensure the grid’s resiliency said it will take longer to dig pipelines, string transmission lines and erect wind farms than the EPA’s earliest compliance targets in 2020 allow.

The assessment suggests that the final EPA rule should include a safety valve clause to ensure that grid reliability issues can be addressed if they arise so that energy will be available to meet consumer demands.

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