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 (Register)
- Paying for Clean Power Plan Compliance: Energy Efficiency, June 23 (Register)
- Topic TBD (attend webinar on April 21 to vote!), July 28 (Register)
ACEEE Compliance Planning Tools
- The State and Utility Pollution Reduction Calculator Version 2 (SUPR 2) allows users to create a simplified Clean Power Plan compliance scenario by selecting from 19 policies and technologies so that they may develop a better understanding of the associated cost and emissions benefits that come with different compliance options.
- Energy Efficiency and the Clean Power Plan: Steps to Success. Start the process with this paper. It’s a step-by-step guide to developing a compliance plan.
- The “Best Practice” series highlights different energy efficiency policies and programs that can be included in a compliance plan:
- Public buildings: leading by example and energy service contracting
- Energy efficiency in low-income households and communities
- *More topics coming soon!* Let us know what topics you would like to see.
- Our “template” series was developed prior to publication of the final Clean Power Plan, but can still be useful in helping policymakers weigh key considerations involved in designing programs and policies that allow states to take credit for emissions reductions:
- NASEO-ACEEE Webinar, "Clean Power Plan: Tools for States" (June 29, 2015) presentation and recording
- Recommendations for getting involved in the state planning process.
Resources for Cities and Localities
- ACEEE Webinar, “Energy Efficiency and Low-Income Communities in the Clean Power Plan: A Billion Dollar Deal” (November 12, 2015) presentation and recording
- No Building Left Behind: The Clean Power Plan and Multifamily Energy Efficiency
Resources for Specific States
- Fact sheets for most U.S. states showing how energy efficiency can save money and meet most of the Clean Power Plan’s CO2 reduction goals
- Letters to governors in most U.S. states supporting a prominent role for energy efficiency in state compliance planning
- Recommendations for inclusion of energy efficiency in state plans in Illinois and Virginia
Formal Comments Submitted in Relation to this Rulemaking
- Comments of ACEEE on the proposed model rules and federal plan and joint comments on model rules and federal plan
- Joint comments on incentivizing energy efficiency in a mass-based approach and a rate-based approach
- Joint comments on evaluation, measurement and verification of energy efficiency
- ACEEE’s preliminary comments on the Clean Energy Incentive Program and joint comments submitted on housing and impacts on low-income populations
- Analysis of the potential emission impacts of building energy codes in the best system of emission reductions
- ACEEE’s comments on the proposed Clean Power Plan
Additional Resources and Analysis
- Energy Efficiency Can Achieve Two-thirds or More of Clean Power Plan Goals
- Change Is in the Air: How States Can Harness Energy Efficiency to Strengthen the Economy and Reduce Pollution
- ACEEE and ASE: Response to EPA: Considerations in the Design of a Program to Reduce Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants
- ACEEE and the Nicholas Institute: Energy Efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Limits for Existing Power Plants: Learning from EPA Precedent
- Energy Efficiency Lowers the Cost of Clean Power Plan Compliance
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.