The Clean Power Plan
For the first time ever, we as a nation are putting limits on the carbon pollution that drives climate change. Under the Clean Power Plan, each state will reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation, primarily by replacing coal combustion – a major source of carbon pollution – with solar energy and wind power. When fully implemented in 2030, the EPA is predicting renewable energy will make up 28% of total generating capacity.
Ten Reasons we think the Clean Power Plan is Great:
- Americans Want Action: A recent poll by Quinnipiac University shows that 65% of American voters agree with Pope Francis that something has to be done to address climate change. And, as part of its annual Environmental Poll, Gallup reports that solar was voted as the #1 domestic energy source that Americans want to see developed with greater emphasis.
- Renewables Emphasized not Natural Gas: As part of the Plan, President Obama and Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, put renewable energy, not natural gas, front and center.
- Renewable Prices Are Dropping: According to the International Renewable Energy Agency's 2014 Renewable Energy Costs Study, solar PV module prices have dropped more than 75% since 2009 and residential solar PV systems are 65% cheaper than in 2008.
- Improves Health: Asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, heart attacks and stroke are all associated with burning coal -- leading to as many as 13,000 premature deaths every year and more than $100 billion in annual health costs.
- States Incentivized for Taking Action: The Plan includes a voluntary "Clean Energy Incentive Program" that would provide credits to states that expand their wind and solar generation as well as energy efficiency efforts in the two years before the Clean Power Plan's interim goals take effect.
- It Helps Cut Carbon: Power plants account for nearly 40 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. That's more than every car, truck, and plane in the U.S. combined. Other toxic chemicals such as mercury, sulfur and arsenic are regulated, but, until now, there were no federal limits on the amount of carbon power plants pour into the atmosphere.
- Strengthens the Economy: McCarthy says the plan would cost a total of $8.4 billion with total benefits expected to be $34 billion to $54 billion.
- Job Opportunities: Moving from coal to renewable energies presents a myriad number of job opportunities. The Solar Energy Industries Association forecasts 25-50% market growth in all U.S. solar sectors by 2016.
- Security: Growth of renewables contributes to energy diversification which increases grid security. Use of renewables can also reduce fuel imports and insulate the economy to some extent from fossil fuel price rises and swings.
- Increased Investment in Renewables: People can place their confidence in renewables as an enduring industry. 2014 saw green energy investments worldwide surge a solid 17% to $270 billion.