The Clean Power Plan

On August 3, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final version of the Clean Power Plan, a rule that sets performance rates and individual state targets for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants. Under the authority of Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, the rule seeks to reduce emissions 32% nationwide by 2030, relative to 2005 levels.

The Clean Power Plan calls for states to submit initial compliance plans demonstrating how they will meet emission reduction targets in September 2016. In February of 2016 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a “stay” which suspends the timeline for submission of these state plans. However, regulation of CO2 from power plants is required by the Clean Air Act and it’s only a matter of time before the federal rulemaking proceeds. In spite of the stay many states have opted to continue to develop plans for complying with upcoming federal air regulations. One of the most promising compliance strategies for low-cost pollution abatement is end-use energy efficiency.

The Role of Energy Efficiency

End-use energy efficiency is a proven strategy to reduce energy and can help states to cost-effectively meet their CO2 reduction goals. The energy savings from end-use efficiency measures have already resulted in significant, cost-effective greenhouse gas emission reductions from the electric power sector. In fact, states, utilities, grid operators, and others have for decades relied on end-use energy efficiency policies and programs for financial, legal, economic development, and environmental purposes. While energy efficiency was not used to calculate state pollution reduction targets, it remains states’ cheapest and most readily available option for achieving substantial and reliable emission reductions.

ACEEE has developed a number of resources to help states and stakeholders understand and assess the energy, environmental, and economic benefits of energy efficiency as a means to reducing pollution.

Webinar Series on EE and the Clean Power Plan

  • Building on Existing Efforts: State Policy and Clean Power Plan Outlook, March 24 (Recording) (Presentation)
  • Leveraging the Clean Power Plan to Expand Low-Income Energy Efficiency Programs and Investments, April 21 (Recording) (Presentation)
  • Complying with the Clean Power Plan: An Opportunity for the Industrial Sector, May 19 (Recording) (Presentation)
  • Paying to Save Money: Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan, June 23 (Recording)(Presentation)
  • CEIP and the Opportunity for Energy Efficiency, July 28 (Register)

ACEEE Compliance Planning Tools

Resources for Cities and Localities

Resources for Specific States

Formal Comments Submitted in Relation to this Rulemaking

Additional Resources and Analysis

To ask specific questions about the Clean Power Plan, questions can be submitted through Answers to State Questions hosted by the National Association of State Energy Officials and supported by ACEEE and the Regulatory Assistance Project.