Making Clean Energy Sweeter To UtilitiesJoan O'C. Hamilton
What's the value of a clear blue sky? Should you pony up a few cents a month on your heating bill to fight global warming? Clean up a lake? Plant some carbon dioxide-gulping trees? Complex issues, these, but in early June, California's Public Utilities Commission commanded the state's utilities to deal with them when planning power projects. The approach is called "environmental least-cost pricing." The idea is to levy a paper penalty on relatively dirty forms of fuel to reflect their environmental costs and thereby force utilities to look to cleaner fuels when adding new sources of power.
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