Three of the nation's biggest investment banks have introduced an unprecedented set of lending guidelines that could make it harder for energy companies to get financing for coal-fired power plants, while encouraging lending for renewable-energy plants.
The new guidelines won't end funding for power plants that run on coal, oil or other fossil fuels. But they do call for the three big financial firms to go through a rigorous "due diligence" process before lending money for such plants.
Borrowers would have to submit details on how they plan to offset carbon emissions from the plants, account for future costs from expected new greenhouse-gas emission regulations and implement energy efficiency and renewable-energy programs.
At Winston-Salem, N.C.-based BB&T Co., spokeswoman A.C. McGraw said in an e-mail that its environment-related lending plans were "under review internally."