Clean Power Plan Marks Positive Shift for Energy Efficiency Industry
Yesterday, President Obama and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy released the final Clean Power Plan, which establishes the first-ever national standards to limit carbon pollution from power plants. According to a White House press release, the final Clean Power Plan sets flexible standards to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, which is 9% more ambitious than the original proposal. The plan also allows states additional time to submit their final plans—two additional years and a compliance averaging period beginning in 2022 rather than 2020.
“The Clean Power Plan is a positive step for the energy efficiency industry,” said Home Performance Coalition President and CEO Brian Castelli. “This allows states to craft their plans to best fit their own specific circumstances, opening the door to further impact and success.” The plan specifies that energy efficiency is a key compliance mechanism that provides states with flexibility to design carbon reduction plans. The Clean Power Plan establishes a Clean Energy Incentive Program, which will be proposed today and allows for renewable energy and low-income energy efficiency to earn additional credits, as an incentive for states to include these measures in their compliance plans.
In this proposed program, low-income energy efficiency measures in particular are noted as a strategy, qualifying for two credits for meeting carbon reductions, whereas implementing renewable energy will qualify for a one-to-one credit. These credits will only be eligible in low-income communities, and thus, energy efficiency initiatives for hospitals, schools, and residences impacting low-income communities will qualify.
“States should be encouraged to include low-income residential energy efficiency programs in their plans, as this is an opportunity to help those most vulnerable to reduce their energy expenditures while helping reduce the country’s carbon emissions,” Castelli said.
The final Clean Power Plan takes into account 4 million comments that were submitted to the EPA during the public comment period, and sets state targets in a way that reflects this input from states, utilities, and stakeholders. The Home Performance Coalition is supportive of this approach and encouraged that the final Clean Power Plan reward states for early investment in clean energy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency, especially in low-income communities.
Stephanie Rex is the Marketing and Communications Manager for the Home Performance Coalition.
For more information on the Home Performance Coalition, please visit www.homeperformance.org.
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