Regulation of greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions could increase the cost of electricity by reducing amounts of electricity generated from fossil fuels, by requiring the use of more expensive generating methods or by imposing taxes or fees upon electricity generation or use. The U.S. EPA finalized a regulation in October 2015, called the "Clean Power Plan," that was intended to reduce GHG emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. The Clean Power Plan was challenged in court and the rule has not been implemented because litigation is ongoing. In August 2018, the U.S. EPA issued a proposed rule that would replace the Clean Power Plan with the "Affordable Clean Energy" rule. Under the Affordable Clean Energy rule, coal-fired power plants will be required to make efficiency improvements to reduce their GHG emissions. The U.S. EPA expects to finalize the Affordable Clean Energy rule in 2019, but the rule will likely be challenged in court, which may delay its implementation. While we do not expect these regulatory developments to materially increase our costs of electricity, the costs remain difficult to predict or estimate.
State regulations also have the potential to increase our costs of obtaining electricity. Certain states, like California, also have issued or may enact environmental regulations that could materially affect our facilities and electricity costs. California has limited GHG emissions from new and existing conventional power plants by imposing regulatory caps and by selling or auctioning the rights to emission allowances. Washington, Oregon and Massachusetts have issued regulations to implement similar carbon cap and trade programs, and other states are considering proposals to limit carbon emissions through cap and trade programs, carbon pricing programs and other mechanisms. Some states limit carbon emissions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative ("RGGI") cap and trade program. State programs have not had a material adverse effect on our electricity costs to date, but due to the market-driven nature of some of the programs, they could have a material adverse effect on electricity costs in the future. Such laws and regulations are also subject to change at any time.
Aside from regulatory requirements, we have separately undertaken efforts to procure energy from renewable energy projects in order to support new renewables development. The costs of procuring such energy may exceed the costs of procuring electricity from existing sources, such as existing utilities or electric service provided through conventional grids. These efforts to support and enhance renewable electricity generation may increase our costs of electricity above those that would be incurred through procurement of conventional electricity from existing sources.
If we are unable to recruit or retain key executives and qualified personnel, our business could be harmed.
In connection with the evolving needs of our customers and our business, and under the direction of our new chief executive officer, we have undertaken a review of our organizational architecture. To the extent that we make changes to our organizational architecture as a result of that review, there can be no assurances that the changes won't result in attrition, or that any changes will result in increased organizational effectiveness. We must also continue to identify, hire, train and retain key personnel who maintain relationships with our customers and who can provide the technical, strategic and marketing skills required for our company's growth. There is a shortage of qualified personnel in these fields, and we compete with other companies for the limited pool of talent.
The failure to recruit and retain necessary key executives and personnel could cause disruption, harm our business and hamper our ability to grow our company.
We may not be able to compete successfully against current and future competitors.
The global multi-tenant data center market is highly fragmented. It is estimated that Equinix is one of more than 1,200 companies that provide these offerings around the world. Equinix competes with these firms which vary in terms of their data center offerings. We must continue to evolve our product strategy and be able to differentiate our IBX data centers and product offerings from those of our competitors.
As our customers evolve their IT strategies, we must remain flexible and evolve along with new technologies and industry and market shifts. Ineffective planning and execution in our cloud and product development strategies may cause difficulty in sustaining competitive advantage in our products and services.
We are also in discussions with a targeted set of hyperscale customers to develop capacity to serve their larger footprint needs by leveraging existing capacity and dedicated hyperscale builds. We have announced our intention to seek a joint venture partner for certain of our hyperscale builds. There can be no assurances that we find such partner or that we are able to successfully meet the needs of these customers.
Some of our competitors may adopt aggressive pricing policies, especially if they are not highly leveraged or have lower return thresholds than we do. As a result, we may suffer from pricing pressure that would adversely affect our ability to generate revenues. Some of these competitors may also provide our target customers with additional benefits, including bundled communication services or cloud services, and may do so in a manner that is more attractive to our potential customers than obtaining space in our IBX data centers. Similarly, with growing acceptance of cloud-based technologies, we are at risk of losing