Companies are squeezing the carbon footprint from their plants and processes, especially utility companies. For instance, a New Jersey company, Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), will sell its 6,750 MW fossil-fuel plant portfolio for $1.92 billion. Makes sense as the company rationalizes its assets. (Source) (Fossil fuels include coal, gas, oil)
A fine point: That decarbonizes the company. It does not necessarily decarbonize our economy.
If the buyer runs the fossil fuel plants as the plants have run before, it is the same impact on the environment. (The new owner might make big changes, of course.)
It’s a detail important to consumer energy education. Here are a couple of other illustrations.
Some years ago, the federal government helped people buy new, energy-effective refrigerators. People responded well to the offer. Some folks bought a new refrigerator and placed their old refrigerator in the garage and kept using it. End result – more energy use, not less.
Here’s a counterpoint. California wanted to reduce auto emissions some years ago. Oil company Unocal did something smart. Unocal pioneered an auto scrapping concept as a way to reduce pollution caused by older vehicles not equipped with government-mandated emission control equipment. The company acquired 10,200 vehicles during its buyback programs, paying consumers more than $7 million.” (Source) Unocal junked the cars. Took them out of service, never to pollute again.
Back to energy – taking out highly polluting power generation facilities reduces carbon emissions. (Or, as noted, making changes to the generation process.)
The power generation business is in the middle of a massive transition. Some companies will make huge changes that affect everyone, like PSEG closing its last coal plant. (right) Sometimes those changes may only affect those companies.
Over the course of time, cleaner energy will prevail. Regulations and costs are driving the industry that way.
Consumers have a greater need to stay educated on how those changes unfold.