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coal power plant

EPA Moves Forward with Clean Energy Incentive Program

coal power plantDespite the legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan, the EPA yesterday proposed the details of the Clean Energy Incentive Program, a voluntary component of the agency’s carbon pollution rules.

Twenty-seven states and dozens of industry groups have challenged the Clean Power Plan, which requires existing coal-burning power plants to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. In February the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the rule while the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit determines its legality.

Earlier this week Clean Power Plan opponents accused the EPA of using “scare tactics” to force states to continue with their plans to implement the carbon rules, despite the Supreme Court’s stay.

The optional Clean Energy Incentive Program is designed to reward states for early deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency measures. To this end, the EPA will make available additional allowances or emission rate credits (ERCs) available to states that implement zero-emitting wind or solar power projects as well as energy efficiency initiatives. It also provides matching credits for these investments in low-income communities.

The EPA’s proposal comes in response to requests from 14 states to provide guidance and information about the program.

In a letter to EPA’s Janet McCabe earlier this spring, fourteen states highlighted their need for additional information and assistance related to the final Clean Power Plan, and asked that EPA provide this information “in a manner that is respectful of the Supreme Court’s stay of the regulations” because the information “will be important to our state efforts to prudently plan for and implement a variety of state and federal obligations.”

The full appeals court will hear oral arguments on the carbon emissions rule on Sept. 27.

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