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New federal environmental regulations call for substantial emissions reductions from U.S. power grids. For a system designed for fossil fuel resources, this will mean transforming the grid to accommodate large increases in renewable energy resources. Opponents of such regulations claim that the integration of these resources will impose high costs on the system, in particular those related to maintaining reliability standards. A new Synapse study finds that these claims are overblown, and that the costs to integrate increased amounts of wind and solar energy are minimal. Actual costs found by integration studies across the country are on the order of half a cent per kilowatt-hour of energy the resource produces, according to the Synapse literature review.

EPA’s final Clean Power Plan differs from the version proposed last year in several non-trivial ways. In fact, the basic framework of the rule—the way in which the EPA sets states’ targets for emissions reductions and the options for meeting those targets—has changed. As part of our ongoing series of webinars on the final Clean Power Plan, Synapse will present a webinar next Tuesday that drills into the details of EPA’s new method for calculating states’ targets and the differences between the seven compliance pathways (of which there were two in the proposed rule).

A key challenge that EPA, state agencies, and public interest groups involved in Clean Power Plan compliance planning are likely to face during the development of state plans, trading program initiation, and compliance demonstration, has to do with how emissions displacement interacts with state compliance options—and rate-based options in particular.

A key benefit of renewable energy is that electricity generated from new renewable resources displaces electricity generated from other types of power plants. In doing so, renewables reduce the consumption of fossil fuel and production of fossil fuel-related carbon dioxide emissions. In the Clean Power Plan originally proposed by EPA in June 2014, this effect was ignored when setting emissions targets for states: EPA’s formula omitted this effect. In the final version of the rule, released Monday, states’ targets do account for emissions displaced by renewable generation.

EPA’s Clean Power Plan, released this past Monday, offers many more options for compliance than were available in the proposed rule. More on these pathways plus a link to detailed slide deck after the jump.

On August 3, EPA released the final version of its Clean Power Plan. This rule establishes emission reduction guidelines for existing power plants aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels. The final rule includes some important difference from the version proposed last year. As public agencies, interest groups, and electric-sector experts scramble in the next days and weeks to first absorb and then analyze the rule, we offer our early assessment of the top eight things planners and advocates should know about the final Clean Power Plan, and compare each point to the proposed rule.

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final version of its Clean Power Plan, the agency’s effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants built before 2012. Since the proposed rule was issued as a draft over a year ago, utilities, state regulators, consumer advocates, and environmental groups have speculated about the final form, and what it might require. This isn’t the first rule that could spur substantial changes within the electricity sector.

Investing in high levels of clean energy and widespread energy efficiency programs can save money for a majority of households in each of the contiguous states, according to a Synapse modeling study released today. The analysis, part of a series of briefs on the impacts of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan on consumers, shows that households participating in state-sponsored efficiency programs can save an average of $35 on their monthly bills in 2030. Even non-participants will save money in 16 states.

The recent Supreme Court ruling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standard generated dramatic headlines in the media, but a closer look shows an outcome that is less earth-shaking and more pedantic.

April 2015 was the first month ever in which more electricity was produced from natural gas-fired generators than from coal-fired generators nationwide, according to data released last week by the EIA. The EIA’s monthly update includes data through April 2015, so we do not yet know how natural gas fared against coal in May and June.

In addition, this April saw the lowest amount of coal-fired generation in 32 years—not since April 1983 has coal-fired generation been as low as it was in April 2015.

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