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CEO: Carbon plan needs to be digested first

The CEO of one of the nation's largest electric utilities said on Monday that President Barack Obama's clean energy plan needs to be fully digested before it moves any further.

"The issue is how quickly you do it and the effect it has on the ultimate cost to consumers," said Nicholas Akins, American Electric Power CEO, in an interview on CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"We have to not only digest the 1,600-page rule, but define what that means in terms of the resources that each state can deal with in terms of meeting its targets."

On Monday the president announced a clean-power plan that would establish the first-ever limits on carbon pollution by power plants. The goal is a 32 percent cut in power plant emissions by 2030. The plan is touted by supporters to cut the average energy bill by $85 in 2030 as well as create tens of thousands of jobs.

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But industry groups and some lawmakers who have relied on coal-based energy have vowed to challenge the new requirements, accusing the administration of a regulatory assault that will drive up energy prices.

"I think it will be good for the climate. As we progress toward the emphasis on renewables and energy efficiency, we'll be able to make and adapt to changes through the power system in terms of resources to enable a cleaner energy environment from a carbon perspective."

Akins also said that his company is focused on alternative energy sources such as nuclear and centralized utility scale solar, which he said is "much more efficient than rooftop solar."

—CNBC's Everett Rosenfeld contributed to this report.