Three of the nationâ€™s largest investment banks unveiled new standards Monday that require utilities seeking financing to prove that new coal-fired plants would make economic sense even with tough federal caps on carbon dioxide.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the move by Citigroup Inc., Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co. reflects Wall Streetâ€™s belief that Congress will approve â€œsometime in the next few yearsâ€ some kind of cap-and-trade system on greenhouse gases. The banks will ask utilities wanting to build new coal plants to first explore energy efficiency and renewable energy options. The new financing rules could â€œhurt coal-dependent utilities that havenâ€™t begun factoring a future price of C02 emissions into their planning. But they could help utilities that have.â€
The Holcomb plant debate is taking place against the backdrop of sweeping federal regulatory and financial changes that canâ€™t be ignored.