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A New Track For Clean Air Compliance

Posted by Macie Melendez on January 31, 2012
A New Track For Clean Air Compliance
Getting on the right track for clean air. (ACEEE)

As mandated under the Clean Air Act, a suite of upcoming air regulations will soon impose limits on the emissions of multiple air pollutants. A new report done by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) reveals how energy efficiency can be used by states, policymakers, and utilities developing compliance strategies to meet the goals of federal air regulations. The report, “Energy Efficiency: The Slip Switch to a New Track Toward Compliance with Federal Air Regulations” maps opportunities in these new regulations where energy efficiency can be used as a compliance tool.

"Although energy efficiency is our cheapest, cleanest, and quickest energy resource, it has often been ignored as a strategy for compliance with air regulations. But now the political, economic, and regulatory environments have aligned. We are on the threshold of a unique opportunity, a tipping point for energy efficiency," said Sara Hayes, ACEEE Senior Policy Analyst and lead author of the report.

"We unearthed a collection of good stories about what has already been tried and we found that there are some very promising opportunities. Energy efficiency can play a major role in regulations like the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and multiple federal permitting rules," said Rachel Young, Research Analyst ACEEE and coauthor of the report.

This report is the second in the "Path to Compliance" series by ACEEE that outlines a track for the U.S. to transition to a cleaner, more reliable energy future. The first paper in this series, "Avoiding a Train Wreck: Replacing Old Coal Plants with Energy Efficiency" explains that energy efficiency is a low-cost approach to reducing air pollution.

The analysis shows that energy efficiency can be deployed much more quickly than a new power plant can be constructed and explains how energy efficiency is America's greatest untapped energy resource with massive potential.

"In our current economic climate, states and utilities need a cost-effective solution to reducing pollution, complying with EPA regulations, and maintaining reliable electricity for customers. The recommendations in this report will help to reduce emissions at the lowest cost," said Steven Nadel, Executive Director of ACEEE.

You can download the full report here.

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