You are here

Clean Power Plan

On June 16, 2016, EPA released new information about the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), a subsection of the Clean Power Plan. The CEIP is a program intended to incentivize early action before 2022 in renewables and energy efficiency, with priority given to low-income communities.

At a webinar last week, “A Fresh Outlook on the Clean Power Plan,” Synapse’s Dr. Elizabeth A. Stanton hosted Senior Associate Sarah Jackson and Harvard Law’s Kate Konschnik for a discussion of the current outlook for the Clean Power Plan and what efforts toward decarbonization are still happening in the United States.

On May 17, 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) published an early release of its Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) for 2016. This early release contains projections for two scenarios: a Reference case, which includes the effects of the Clean Power Plan, and a “No Clean Power Plan” case, which examines a future in which there is no Clean Power Plan. Final versions of each of these cases, along with projections for numerous other scenarios, will be available on July 7, 2016. Until then, here are some of the key highlights in the latest AEO:

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s surprising and controversial decision to stay implementation of the Clean Power Plan—which limits the emission of carbon dioxide from existing power plants—here’s a bit of global context (see figure below).

On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a stay on EPA’s Clean Power Plan (click here to learn more about the Clean Power Plan, and click here to learn more about the expected timeline of the stay). This stay calls into question whether some states will continue to implement policies associated with the Clean Power Plan, such as increased renewables and energy efficiency.

Last night, the Supreme Court shocked many of us when it took the unprecedented step of granting a stay of the EPA’s carbon-reducing Clean Power Plan before litigation against the rule has even been heard by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. A stay is essentially a judicial pause button that halts the implementation of a regulation while challenges to it work their way through the court system. In doing so, the Supreme Court overruled the D.C.

Environmental justice advocates have a new role to play in their states’ electric-sector planning. In its new rule on carbon emissions from power plants, called the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires states to involve community stakeholders in their compliance planning processes. Underlying this requirement are the often disproportional health and environmental impacts that power plants can have on vulnerable communities.

Energy efficiency is widely recognized as an abundant and low-cost option for complying with the requirements of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. However, not all electric customers have equal access to customer-funded efficiency programs. Concerns about fairness between customers—those who participate in programs and see greater benefits than those who do not—create a barrier to widespread implementation of energy efficiency programs.

Vulnerable communities such as low-income communities and communities of color are disproportionately affected by the health and climate impacts caused by power plant emissions. To comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan, states must engage these communities during plan development and analyze opportunities to counteract these effects.

A handbook released today walks state consumer advocates through EPA’s Clean Power Plan, a complex rulemaking made all the more difficult to unpack due to the degree of flexibility provided to states. Effective participation of consumer advocates in the compliance process is essential to protect the interests of ratepayers.

Pages