Federal Export Bank Limits Coal Plant Financing

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The smoke stacks at American Electric Power's (AEP) Mountaineer coal power plant in New Haven, West Virginia, October 30, 2009. In cooperation with AEP, the French company Alstom unveiled the world's largest carbon capture facility at a coal plant, so called 'clean coal,' which will store around 100,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide a year 2,1 kilometers (7,200 feet) underground.
National Journal
Ben Geman
Dec. 12, 2013, 12:54 p.m.

The Ex­port-Im­port Bank of the United States vowed Thursday to re­strict fin­an­cing for con­struc­tion of over­seas coal-fired power plants, a move that’s part of a wider Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion policy against aid­ing car­bon-in­tens­ive coal plants abroad.

The Ex-Im Bank’s board ad­op­ted guidelines that largely pre­vent fin­an­cing un­less a plant will use car­bon cap­ture and stor­age tech­no­logy.

“Without guidelines or lim­its, ever-in­creas­ing num­bers of new coal plants world­wide will just con­tin­ue to emit more car­bon pol­lu­tion in­to the air we breathe,” said Ex-Im Chair­man and Pres­id­ent Fred P. Hoch­berg in a state­ment.

The Ex-Im policy has an ex­cep­tion for coal plant pro­jects in the world’s poorest na­tions — if no oth­er eco­nom­ic­ally feas­ible al­tern­at­ives ex­ist and if the plant will use the most ef­fi­cient tech­no­logy avail­able.

The ex­port cred­it agency’s policy is con­sist­ent with the White House cli­mate plan re­leased in June that calls for an end to pub­lic fin­an­cing of coal plants over­seas, ex­cept in the types of cases out­lined in the Ex-Im guidelines.

The Ex-Im plan fol­lows the Treas­ury De­part­ment’s Oc­to­ber an­nounce­ment of how it in­tends to work with mul­ti­lat­er­al de­vel­op­ment banks on the anti-coal plant policy.

The World Bank, for its part, is also im­pos­ing new lim­its on sup­port for coal plant con­struc­tion.

The Ex-Im Bank provided over $2 bil­lion in fin­an­cing for coal plants between 2010 and 2013, ac­cord­ing to the Nat­ur­al Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil.

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