Study: Clean Power Plan Is Achievable, Could Lead To Savings

Posted by Lauren Tyler on January 15, 2016 No Comments
Categories : Policy Watch

M.J. Bradley & Associates has published a comprehensive modeling analysis of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s final Clean Power Plan (CPP). The study finds the controversial plan can achieve significant reductions of carbon pollution from the nation’s power sector while preserving a diverse energy mix.

Furthermore, the analysis shows that the CPP will increase investment in cost-effective clean energy resources, such as renewables and energy efficiency, and can result in savings for customers on their electric bills.

For example, the study says states and utilities that increase investment in energy efficiency programs will see a reduction in the costs of complying with the CPP because plants will purchase less fuel and fewer new plants will need to be built.

“This comprehensive analysis shows that, by various pathways, the Clean Power Plan’s carbon pollution reduction goals are very achievable,” states Christopher Van Atten of M.J. Bradley & Associates. “The nation’s electricity sector can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and employing a mix of clean energy resources will both help clean up the air and cut costs of doing so.”

M.J. Bradley analyzed 14 scenarios for implementing the final CPP. Some key findings of the analysis include the following:

– The U.S. electricity sector can achieve the CPP’s goals to reduce carbon pollution emissions by more than 30% from 2005 levels by 2030 using a diverse mix of resources, including renewable power, energy efficiency, nuclear, natural gas and coal.

– Wind and solar installations are projected to continue growing under all of the modeling scenarios. In 2030, renewable energy is projected to supply between 11% and 15% of U.S. electricity.

– Broadening the geographic scope of trading can significantly reduce the incremental costs of the program.

– Across a range of scenarios, customers could see savings on their electricity bills from 5% to 20% on average.

– The EPA requires that mass-based state plans address the potential for “emissions leakage.” Leakage results from the incentives under a mass-based plan to shift generation and emissions to new fossil-fired power plants outside the program. The analysis shows that CO2 emissions would increase with an “existing only” mass-based program versus an “existing plus new” source program. The report says the most straightforward approach to address this issue is for states to adopt the “existing plus new” source mass limits.

The M.J. Bradley & Associates analysis is available here.

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