Today (Aug. 3) President Obama unveiled the EPA's Clean Power Plan, an ambitious plan to reduce the U.S.’s emissions and drastically increase the use of renewable energy throughout the country. The plan was heralded by those who support clean energy and others like the American Lung Association, and lampooned by energy industry antiques like the fossil fuel industry.
The plan will help modernize the U.S. energy infrastructure and help states meet the goals set out. This is the most ambitious action the administration has taken on climate change yet and is inline with pervious actions Obama has taken to increase renewable energy use in the U.S.
“We have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged. The effects of climate change are already being felt across the nation,” the White House explained in a fact sheet. It spelled out increased health problems and climate change issues, including asthma, hospital stays, extreme weather events and more.
“The Clean Power Plan establishes the first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants,” the White House said. “The final Clean Power Plan sets flexible and achievable standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, 9 percent more ambitious than the proposal.”
In a statement about the plan Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President Rhone Resch called it a huge win for the solar industry. “To put the importance of this rule in perspective, the Plan will create more demand for solar than all statewide Renewable Portfolio Standards currently in place,“ wrote Resch.
The administration said the plan will drive investment in clean energy technologies like solar and wind “resulting in 30 percent more renewable energy generation in 2030 and continuing to lower the costs of renewable energy.” The administration also is creating a Clean Energy Incentive Program that will help drive deployment of solar, wind and energy efficiency deployments for low-income individuals. It also said the plan will “Save the average American family nearly $85 on their annual energy bill in 2030, reducing enough energy to power 30 million homes, and save consumers a total of $155 billion from 2020-2030.”
“High efficiency natural gas and wind are currently the cheapest forms of electricity generation, the cost of solar is plummeting, and energy efficiency is almost always the lowest cost way to meet new electricity needs,” said Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs with the Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). “With these and other advanced energy options that also reduce emissions, there is every reason to believe that states can achieve compliance at low cost.” He added that the plan will drive business and create jobs as it is implemented.
Resch said the White House responded to concerns raised by the clean energy industry by including carbon reduction goals for states that are 9 percent tougher than originally proposed, including all solar technologies in compliance options, and requiring 30 percent more renewables than originally proposed under the plan, among other things.
Reach noted that the plan did not make the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which helps support solar projects, permanent. However, Obama has proposed making it a permanent credit earlier this year. Such an action would put solar power more inline with fossil fuels, which still receive federal incentives.Tweet