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carbon policy

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.

Next Tuesday (February 2) the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) participating states and regional stakeholders will meet to begin their second in-depth review of the RGGI program. This meeting will solicit stakeholder input on RGGI program design elements, including considerations for compliance under EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The last program review in 2012 led to a 45 percent reduction in the regional CO2 cap, among other changes.

In 2014, Synapse worked with Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) on two projects to integrate Synapse’s in-house version of ReEDS, a detailed electricity sector optimization model developed by NREL, with REMI’s macroeconomic analysis tool, PI+. This integration gives a high-resolution view of the effect of changing energy prices and investment decisions on job creation, GDP, and income, as well as differential impacts by income group, industry, or region. Synapse and REMI analyzed both a nationwide and a Massachusetts-specific carbon tax.