Seminole Electric Cooperative Files Further Comments on EPA “Clean Power Plan”
Tampa, FL – Today, Thursday, January 21st, Seminole Electric Cooperative Inc. (Seminole) filed comments with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in regard to implementing the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).
“Seminole continues to believe that the Clean Power Plan will threaten the reliability and affordability of our Member’s electricity,” said Seminole CEO Lisa Johnson. “We have challenged the Clean Power Plan in Federal Court, and asked that the enforcement of the rule be stayed, or paused, until we know that it will survive legal challenge. Seminole should not have to make the kinds of decisions that would cost our members money, or our employees their jobs, without certainty that those decisions are based on sound, legal requirements.”
Without specific fixes in the proposed federal plan for implementation, those who can afford it the least would pay the most for the negative effects of the Clean Power Plan.
Lisa continued, “Approximately one-third of Seminole’s residential customers have household incomes below the poverty level. The Seminole Generating Station, our primary power plant, employs three hundred individuals in rural Putnam County – a county that was rated by USA Today in 2015 as the poorest county in Florida. This plant, one of the cleanest coal-fired facilities in the world, does not meet the emissions rate requirements of the Clean Power Plan.”
Seminole’s comments zone in on one issue in particular, that the Clean Power Plan has the potential to turn Seminole’s primary generation facility into a stranded asset, and that as a small entity, Seminole does not have the same ability as larger utilities to absorb this loss.
“The Seminole Generating Station is financed through 2042, and it has a professionally rated useful life through 2045,” said Lisa. “The plant could close without additional compliance time or other consideration. Our Members, and their Member-Owners, would have to continue to pay for a plant that is either closed or operating at reduced capacity, while also paying for a new source of electricity. The poorest county in Florida would lose its largest property tax payer, and one of its largest employers. The rural Members and communities that we serve should not be forced to bear the brunt of the costs of this plan.”
Highlights of Seminole’s Comments:
- Seminole qualifies as a Small Business, employing less than 750 individuals, and should be given additional compliance time to cushion the plan’s cost to our Members.
- EPA should provide additional compliance time for units operated by “small entities,” units located in low-income areas, units that provide a large percentage of a county’s property taxes, or units that provide a substantial number of jobs in areas with above average levels of unemployment.
- Any state-specific federal plan needs to include a reliability safety valve to ensure that electric cooperatives do not have to choose between keeping the lights on or being fined by EPA.
- The process that EPA will use to implement a federal plan is severely flawed. Any Federal Plan should be specifically tailored to the state for which it is intended, and interested parties should have the opportunity to comment on it before it becomes final.
Headquartered in Tampa, Fl., Seminole’s mission is to provide reliable, competitively priced, wholesale electric power to its nine Member distribution electric cooperatives – serving approximately 1.6 million consumers and business in 42 counties. Seminole owns and operates a 1,300-MW coal-fired power plant located in Putnam County, as well as an 810-MW natural gas-fired power plant located on the Polk/Hardee County border. Seminole also purchases energy from renewable energy facilities*.
*Seminole sells a portion of the renewable energy credits associated with its renewable generation to third parties. The third parties can use the credits to meet mandatory or voluntary renewable requirements.