Emissions Displacement and the Clean Power Plan

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 August 3, states’ targets do account for emissions displaced by renewable generation.

As part of our ongoing series of webinars on EPA’s Clean Power Plan, Synapse hosted a webinar on how displacement occurs within the electric power system, and what this means for final targets set by EPA as well as states’ compliance with the rule. Panelists included authors of the Synapse report Air Emissions Displacement by Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a survey of evidence that renewable resources and energy efficiency have indeed displaced fossil fuel resources connected to the grid.