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State Policies Effective In Reducing CO2

Power plantDifferent strategies used by states to reduce power plant emissions – such as emission caps and encouraging renewable energy – are both effective, according to a study by the University of Colorado.

The findings are particularly relevant since the EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan depends on individual states effectively cutting their power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions. The plan will require states to cut CO2 emissions from power plants by 30 percent from their 2005 levels by 2030.

According to Don Grant of the University of Colorado, researchers had previously found it difficult to determine which state policies reduced power plants’ CO2 emissions because plant-specific data were largely unavailable. That changed when the EPA began requiring plants to submit CO2 pollution information as part of its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program.

Some states have policies that directly limit power plants’ carbon emissions and others have addressed carbon emissions indirectly by encouraging energy efficiency and renewable energy.

The study used 2005 and 2010 data to examine the impacts of strategies that are specifically climate-focused such as carbon emission caps, greenhouse gas reduction goals, climate action plans, and greenhouse gas registry/reporting systems.

Researchers also examined indirect policies with climate implications such as efficiency targets, renewable portfolio standards that require utilities to deliver a certain amount of electricity from renewable or alternative energy sources, public benefit funds that provide financial assistance for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and electric decoupling that eases the pressure on utilities to sell as much energy as possible by eliminating the relationship between revenues and sales volume.

Of the strategies reviewed, the study found emission caps, greenhouse gas targets, efficiency targets, public benefit funds and electric decoupling to be the most effective policies for reducing power plants’ carbon emissions.

Since the Clean Power Plan was introduced earlier this year, it has received both praise and criticism from those in the industry.

Last month, one West Virginia coal company told its 1,100 workers to prepare for layoffs in part because of the EPA regulations.

Photo Credit: Power plant via Shutterstock

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One thought on “State Policies Effective In Reducing CO2

  1. As technology makes both solar, wind and bioelectric generation more efficient, state and locally run utilities will have to get away from the traditional model of utilities increasing shareholder earnings by selling more power.

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