Federal plans for new carbon emission cuts — reportedly by up to 30 percent from 2005 levels — could spark a rapid expansion in the renewables sector, environmental groups predicted Sunday ahead of the unveiling of a new government blueprint on clean energy.
“If you’re working in the solar or wind industry, you should feel very happy right now. Those are the industries growing faster than the rest of economy,” Mike Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, said. “It’s clear that those are going to be the industries to work in, invest in and watch. They’re about to explode in terms of growth.”
The comments came on the eve of an announcement Monday in which Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy is expected to outline new limits on existing power plants. In anticipation of the new guidelines, President Barack Obama said Saturday that it was time for “higher standards to cut pollution” and that the new rules would “cut down on the carbon pollution, smog and soot that threatens the health of the most vulnerable Americans, including children and the elderly.”
The new rules could bolster an industry that has already benefited from a flow of new cash and new demand.
Warren Buffett, the billionaire owner of Iowa utility MidAmerican, announced a $1.9 billion investment in wind farms earlier this month. MidAmerican plans to generate almost half its electricity from wind by 2017.