BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Aug. 4, 2015) - In an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow the effects of climate change, the Obama Administration has revealed the Clean Power Plan, the final version of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulations on coal-burning power plants.
At a White House event on Monday, President Obama addressed the public about what he calls "the biggest, most important step we've ever taken to combat climate change."
By requiring states to reduce carbon emissions by certain amounts based on energy consumption, the Clean Power Plan is designed to reduce national carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent by 2030.
As the nation debates the polarizing issues of climate change and governmental regulations on industrial emissions, industry professionals should know these 5 key facts about the Clean Power Plan:
1. The EPA claims that the plan will save billions of dollars.
"In a conference call with the press, Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said the plan would cost a total of $8.4 billion with total benefits expected to be $34 billion to $54 billion." - Obama Unveils Major Climate Change Proposal, CNN
2. The states can decide how they meet the 32 percent reduction goal.
"To give states a choice, EPA is establishing interim and final statewide goals in three forms:
- a rate-based state goal measured in pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour of electricity produced (lb/MWh)
- a mass-based state goal measured in total short tons of CO2 emitted
- a mass-based state goal with a new source complement measured in total short tons of CO2.
Each state will have the flexibility to select the compliance method it prefers. States will also have the ability to shape the way they implement their changes over the period from 2022 to 2029, pretty much giving them free rein." - Only One Loser in Obama's Clean Power Plan, Forbes
3. The plan is aimed to increase reliance on renewable energy sources.
"Opponents say Mr. Obama has declared 'a war on coal.' Power plants fired by coal provide more than a third of the U.S. electricity supply. ... Mr. Obama brushed off the notion that the plan is a "War on Coal" that will kill jobs and said he is reinvesting in areas of the U.S. known as 'coal country.'" - Climate Change: Obama Unveils Clean Power Plan, BBC
4. Coal-reliant states are opposed to the plan.
"Some U.S. states have robust coal power plant economies, like Wyoming, West Virginia and Kentucky. Their leaders worry that if coal plants cannot do what they have always done, state economies would suffer, people would be laid off and the government would be overreaching." - What Does President Obama's Climate Change Plan Do?, BBC
5. States must comply by 2022.
"The final rules propose a 32% cut in carbon emissions from power plants by 2030 on 2005 levels, up from the initial proposal of 30%. However states will only have to comply by 2022 rather than 2020 as originally proposed, and will be able submit their plans on meeting the targets by 2018 instead of 2017." - Obama's Clean Power Plan Hailed as US's Strongest Ever Climate Action, The Guardian
6. The government is offering incentives for renewable energy deployment.
"State plans are due in September of 2016, but states that need more time can make an initial submission and request extensions of up to two years for final plan submission. The compliance averaging period begins in 2022 instead of 2020, and emission reductions are phased in on a gradual 'glide path' to 2030. These provisions to give states and companies more time to prepare for compliance are paired with a new Clean Energy Incentive Program to drive deployment of renewable energy and low-income energy efficiency before 2022." - Fact Sheet: President Obama to Announce Historic Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants, The White House
For more information about the details of the plan from the EPA, click here.