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Study says states are prepared to limit carbon emissions from power plants


From the July 17, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published July 17, 2014

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director
States are well positioned to implement the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed rule to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants, according to a new report by the Analysis Group. Reducing CO2 emissions "will tend to increase the cost of doing business for many owners of affected plants," the report said. 

The impacts on electricity rates from well-designed CO2-emission control programs should be "modest in the near term, and can be accompanied by long-term benefits in the form of lower electricity bills and positive economic value to state and regional economies," the report said. The study cited four reasons for that belief:
  • states have a long track record of using various regulatory and other policy tools to protect electricity consumers;
  • EPA’s proposed rule will give states "the flexibility, experience and tools" to develop plans that fit their circumstances;
  • market-based mechanisms offer unique opportunities to minimize costs; and
  • states are well equipped to help protect low-income customers when electricity costs increase.
States that have already regulated CO2 emissions—the Northeastern states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative—have seen net increases in economic output and jobs, according to the consulting firm’s report, EPA's Clean Power Plan: States' Tools for Reducing Costs & Increasing Benefits to Consumers.

"Several states have already put a price on carbon dioxide pollution, and their economies are doing fine. The bottom line: the economy can handle--and actually benefit from--these rules," said Analysis Group Senior Advisor Susan Tierney. "Those states have shown they already have the tools available to cut CO2 emissions while generating macroeconomic benefits and protecting consumers from dramatic hikes in their energy bills." 

The report was funded by the Energy Foundation and the Merck Family Fund. 
 

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Vice President, Integrated Media and Communications
Meena Dayak
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Editorial Director
Robert Varela
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