Obama’s Carbon Rules May Give Boost to Wind, Solar Power

First Solar Inc., the world’s largest maker of solar power-plants, and SunPower Corp. stand to gain from President Barack Obama’s proposal to curb emissions from coal-fired utilities.

Obama directed the Interior Department today to issue permits for 10 gigawatts of renewable energy on public land, doubling renewable-energy generation by 2020. The Defense Department, the largest U.S. energy consumer, also plans to install three gigawatts of renewable energy by 2025, enough to power to 2.4 million homes.

By focusing on power plants, Obama’s administration is confronting one of the largest contributors to greenhouse-gas emissions. Forty percent of U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions and one-third of all greenhouse gases come from electric power plants, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“First Solar and SunPower have led the way with these large, utility-scale projects and this should provide a benefit to them long-term,” Sanjay Shrestha, a New York-based analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, said in an interview today. “Everyone has been wondering where the next big solar projects will be and 10 more gigawatts on federal land shows the way.”

First Solar, based in Tempe, Arizona, rose 7.8 percent to $44.48 at the close in New York, the most in a month. SunPower, based in San Jose, California, climbed 5.7 percent to $18.91.

More solar was added to the grid than any other source during the first quarter of this year, according to Rhone Resch, chief executive officer of the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association. More than 30 utility-scale solar projects are under construction, he said today in a statement.

Rules for new power plants proposed by the EPA, under authority granted by the Clean Air Act, have been indefinitely delayed. Obama plans to put new deadlines on the agency, setting a deadline of Sept. 20 for new power plants and the release of a proposal for existing plants by June 2014.

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