Planning for a Brighter Future
Wind Energy Leads the Way
This year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) landmark Clean Power Plan (CPP) was to be implemented, however fossil fuel interests brought a lawsuit that resulted in a stay from the U.S. Supreme Court in February. Most states and utilities expect the stay to be lifted and are planning accordingly to reduce carbon emissions. Although Texas has suspended planning, it is still well-positioned to meet its Clean Power Plan target.
Largely based on data from primary grid operator Ercot, an Environmental Defense Fund analysis indicates that Texas will be 88 percent of the way toward compliance with the plan through existing market trends alone. Texas has an abundance of clean energy resources and correct policies can take the state the rest of the way. For example, Texas leads the nation in wind energy production and has twice as much solar energy potential as the next-highest state. “We have seen our subscribers about double in the last year as people begin to realize the benefi ts of clean energy,” says John Spicer, president of Breeze Energy, the sole wind energy electric provider in Texas.
The CPP includes the first-ever limits on global warming pollution from power plants in our country. Power plants are the single largest source of carbon pollution, emitting about 2 billion tons a year. Once implemented, the CPP will dramatically reduce pollution, saving thousands of lives and billions of dollars.
The CPP promotes rules by the EPA to clean up existing power plants and cut global warming pollution from the power sector by 32 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. While the CPP is not enough on its own, its timely implementation is an essential part of fulfilling the obligations we made to the rest of the world in Paris last year to reduce emissions enough to keep warming well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
Although the court-ordered stay means states are not required to comply, it does not mean they cannot move forward, and EPA has continued to advance one important piece of the CPP, the Clean Energy Incentive Plan, which is a voluntary program designed to maximize the renewable energy potential of the CPP by removing barriers to investment in energy efficiency and solar in low-income communities and encouraging states and tribes to invest in zero-emitting renewable energy generation.
For more information on the Clean Power Plan, visit EPA.gov/cleanpowerplan.