Combating carbon pollution

In light of  the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s recent move to regulate power plants’ CO2 emissions, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)’s new report is particularly relevant.  

SEIA’s report suggests that states should invest in solar power in order to meet the EPA’s new standards. The EPA’s Clean Power Plan aims to reduce cut carbon emissions from power plants by 30% from 2005 levels. They point out that the current solar power capacity already offsets nearly 17 million metric tons of carbon pollution each year. 

Joe Recchie's Community Renewable Energy on Ohio's net metering policy

The EPA allows states to devise their own strategy for meeting regulations. Some states have a harder task ahead of them than others. For instance, Texas, which relies heavily on natural-gas, will have to be responsible for 1/4 of the all carbon pollution reductions. 

Some states, such as Georgia, are already poised to invest in solar and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. 

As the Washington Post notes:

Clean-energy advocates […] say that Georgia could accomplish much of what President Barack Obama’s EPA is demanding with initiatives already underway. Ten aging coal- fired plants are scheduled to be shut, two atomic-power units are due to come on line by the end of 2018 and Georgia Power has begun a solar-energy program at the behest of its state regulator. 

“Because solar energy emits zero carbon emissions while generating reliable energy, increasing solar energy deployment will help states meet the carbon standards,” SEIA states. 

Inside the EPA regulations

The new EPA regulations (which fall under the Clean Air Act) outlines four basic goals for states, rather than dictating actions that must be undertaken. They are: 

  1. Improve plant efficiency
  2. Make dispatch changes within existing systems
  3. Increase renewable sources
  4. Energy conservation

While critics insist that states and consumers alike will suffer under the new rules, the Natural resources defense Council said, “Markets respond to protective programs like the Clean Power Plan with what they do best: innovation and competition.”

In addition, the third goal, investing in renewables, is one of the most appealing options for many states, as it creates green sector jobs, reduces pollution, stimulates the economy, and enhances energy capacity– all at the same time. The fourth option, energy conservation, will help consumers save money. 

The regulations will inevitably face legal challenges. 

Climate change’s dangerous consequences

Carbon emissions contribute to climate change, and the results are increasingly costly– both in terms of human lives and the economy.

Community Renewable Energy supports regulations that lower consumers’ power bills, reduce pollution, and ease climate change. We believe that every community deserves access to solar power.

Below, the impact of climate change.

Key: Dark blue = floods. Light blue = mass movement wet (subsidence, rock falls, avalanches, and landslides). Green = storms. Yellow = drought. Magenta = extreme temperature. Orange = Wildfires

Key: Dark blue = floods. Light blue = mass movement wet. Green = storms. Yellow = drought. Magenta = extreme temperature. Orange = Wildfires

Charts care of Mother Jones.

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