EPA’s Clean Power Plan: a Brief Overview

As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the EPA developed a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power-generating sources. Known as the Clean Power Plan, it provides guidelines for states on how to achieve CO2 emission reduction. The plan is slated to be finalized by mid-summer 2015. Below is a brief summary of the proposed plan.

The following are steps that states will take to comply with the plan:

  1. Under the plan, states are given a unique target rate of CO2 emissions per unit of electricity generated to be achieved by 2030.
  2. States will develop and submit action plans by 2016 of how they will achieve their assigned rate.
  3. States must show meaningful progress towards their goal by 2020.

According to the EPA, under this plan, carbon dioxide pollution from the power sector will be reduced by 30% by 2030.

The Climate Action Plan allows states a large range of flexibility in developing their action plans, thereby letting states make the decision of when and where to make cuts in emissions. For instance, states can choose from a number of reduction strategies, including

  • Co-firing or switching to natural gas only
  • Retirements
  • Efficiency improvements at plants
  • Construction of natural gas combined-cycle plants
  • Expanding renewable energy
  • Multi-state cooperation programs
  • Market-based trading incentives
  • Energy conservation programs

It is the EPA’s intention that under this Climate Action Plan, states will be able to reduce harmful CO2 emissions all the while providing an incentive for innovation and guaranteeing a reliable and affordable energy system.

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