Monday, August 3, 2015
This afternoon, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its long-anticipated final rule on the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a federal initiative for curbing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The CPP calls for a significant reduction in carbon emission from the nation’s power sector – a 32 percent reduction below 2005 levels by 2030. The CPP sets state-by-state targets for emission reductions and allows states to develop their own compliance plans. Details can be found here.
Statement by Ken Rosenfeld, executive director of the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council:
“After much anticipation, the Clean Power Plan is here and the Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) recognizes this as an opportunity to plan for the future and make sensible energy decisions.
While the Clean Power Plan has generated plenty of debate, it’s time now for Virginia to prepare a comprehensive strategy to address the plan’s goals. To that end, the VAEEC strongly encourages Virginia to include a robust role for energy efficiency in its compliance plan. Energy efficiency can help meet the federal guidelines while concurrently generating significant economic and environmental benefits for Virginians.
There are a few specific items in the final rule that deserve particular mention:
- Energy efficiency is no longer specified as a “building block” – a category used by the EPA to calculate the emissions reduction targets. This is a technical change that was reportedly made to address legal concerns, but it’s important to note that it does not affect the significance of energy efficiency as one of the primary compliance tools available to states to meet their targets.
- It specifically creates a Clean Energy Incentive Program, which offers credits to states that implement energy efficiency programs in low-income communities.
- It allows states to request extensions for submitting their implementation plans, and extends the deadline to begin the compliance period from 2020 to 2022; this development provides the time needed to develop thoughtful and comprehensive plans, and allows for careful consideration of how energy efficiency will be incorporated.
We know that an increased emphasis on energy efficiency needs to be part of any comprehensive approach. Energy efficiency is a rare “win-win” in energy policy, a common sense, nonpartisan, and cost-effective solution:
- It’s the lowest-cost resource option to meet Virginia’s energy supply needs,
- It’s the cleanest option as it represents energy that’s not consumed,
- Through demand reduction it improves our energy system by reducing risk and increasing reliability, and
- It promotes local economic development and job creation – an industry census performed by the VAEEC reveals a $2.2 billion energy efficiency industry in Virginia supporting at least 13,000 jobs at more than 500 firms.
The VAEEC represents a wide range of perspectives, and we look forward to working with the McAuliffe Administration, state agencies, policymakers and our many partners as Virginia devises the best path forward to meeting the Clean Power Plan goals.”
The Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC) is a broad coalition working to assess and support innovative programs, policies and best practices that encourage energy efficiency in the Commonwealth and to provide a forum for stakeholder interaction. The VAEEC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose membership includes businesses of all sizes, utilities, nonprofit and advocacy organizations, local governments and state agencies. For more information, visit www.vaeec.org.