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NACAA Publishes Options for Agencies to Reduce Emissions and Meet Clean Power Plan Goals

The National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) yesterday released a technical document identifying a wide range of technologies, programs, and policies that agencies might employ to comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The document, Implementing EPA’s Clean Power Plan: A Menu of Options, contains 26 chapters, each exploring a different approach to reducing emissions.

Synapse assisted the Regulatory Assistance Project in developing two chapters within the Menu of Options that address policy options for making end-users’ consumption of electricity more efficient: “Pursue Behavioral Efficiency Programs” and “Boost Appliance Efficiency Standards.”

Behavioral energy efficiency programs are an emerging type of program. They focus on changing energy consumer behavior through information dissemination, social interaction, competition, and/or potential rewards, rather than financial incentives. For example, a mass-market media campaign on the importance of turning off lights when leaving a room is one method of affecting consumption through information dissemination. Other increasingly common examples of behavioral programs include peer comparison feedback programs (home energy reports) and community-based social marketing campaigns. The Menu of Options chapter on this subject considers the methods, benefits, and limitations of behavioral programs, as well as ways in which states have addressed barriers to implementation and evaluation, measurement, and verification issues.

Whereas behavioral efficiency programs require consumers to voluntarily adjust their lifestyles, appliance efficiency standards set mandatory minimum requirements for selected appliances and equipment. They prohibit the production, import, or sale of those that do not meet the requirements. Appliance standards have proven to be one of the most cost-effective policies to generate emissions reductions in the United States. The chapter on appliance standards in the NACAA document discussed their benefits as well as states’ experiences in addressing barriers to implementation, political and otherwise.

These techniques represent just two of the 26 possible approaches NACAA lays out for states to employ to develop plans to meet Clean Power Plan emissions goals. Other demand-side approaches include setting targets for customer-funded energy efficiency programs; implementing more aggressive building codes; and fostering new markets for energy efficiency through ESCO (energy service company) contracts, affordable financing, and appliance and building labeling. The document also details numerous approaches on the supply side that reduce emissions during the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity; encourage clean energy through easier integration into the grid; and improve utility planning practices.

NACAA is a national association of air pollution control agencies in 42 states, the District of Columbia, four territories and 116 metropolitan areas.