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Over-Reliance on Coal Puts U.S. Utility At Risk

Over-reliance on coal-fired generation could be placing a U.S. power utility, its customers and investors at risk, according to a recent analysis by the Sierra Club.

PacificCorp, a western utility owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, will spend billions to upgrade its aging coal plants while other power producers shift fuels, Fierce Energy reports. “Once the cost of carbon pollution and remediation is internalized, PacifiCorp’s customers face higher electricity bills,” Vergetis Lundin writes, and “shareholders face the risk that the utility will not be allowed to recover all of these costs from its customers.”

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“Before following through with plans to spend billions more propping up their aging coal fleet, PacifiCorp should take a hard look at both the fundamental transformations in the energy planning landscape nationwide and the abundant clean energy options in their own backyard,” said energy and environmental economics consultant Ezra Hausman.