Colstrip Power Plant operator and co-owner Talen Energy was one of 13 electricity companies who last week offered to work with President Joe Biden on a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants by 2030.
Talen and the other companies suggested they could cut carbon emissions to levels equal to 20% of what pollution levels were in 2005. Reuters news service, which was given access to the letter, reported that companies said the 2030 benchmark aligned with Biden’s 2050 goal for decarbonizing the economy.
Given the path carbon emissions are on, reaching pollution levels 80% lower than what they were in 2005 isn’t a heavy lift, said Seth Feaster of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.
“You’ve seen an enormous reduction in generation from coal plants that has accounted for a lot of the carbon reductions in the U.S.,” Feaster said. “What I would say about these companies is that they have achieved a lot, if not all of their carbon reductions already, but have not yet made more ambitious goals going forward in order to take advantage of the reductions they have already made. Plus, if you’re talking about 2005, this is not an ambitious starting point.”