If approved, the regulations are tipped to come into play by July 1, 2015.
According to a report in the Calgary Herald, briefing notes prepared by the department last year said the proposed regulations offered the equivalent of an 18-month deferral on enforcement of the regulations “because of the interventions made by ATCO”, an Alberta-based energy company.
ATCO was reportedly seeking the deferral to the end of 2016 to help protect its existing Battle River 3 generating unit, the news service reported.
Meanwhile, Maxim Power is believed to have put its plans on hold for a new plant in part due to the uncertainty surrounding the government’s new regulations, which are slated to be finalized before summer.
“It's been characterized quite unfairly as a race to beat regs,” Maxim Power chief executive officer John Bobenic told the Calgary Herald.
Bobenic said the move towards a regulatory approach towards climate change could force coal plants to shut down if their emissions were too high.
It compares to a previously advocated market-based climate change plan, which would allow companies to reduce emissions by investing in other activities that reduced emissions or by purchasing certified credits from companies that were reducing emissions, the news service reported.
However, under the current approach, companies would not be allowed the same offer for compliance apart from achieving absolute reductions in their emissions.
The news service said the new approach would cost Maxim Power $40 million in stranded investments.