SACE | Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
SACE Statement on EPA Release of Final Clean Power Plan
Plan Establishes First-Ever Carbon Emission Limits for Existing Coal Plants
Contact: Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865.235.1448, Jennifer@cleanenergy.org
Knoxville, Tenn. – Today, President Obama announced the final version of the Clean Power Plan, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) landmark public health regulation. The Clean Power Plan establishes individual, tailored carbon emission reduction limits for each state and allows states maximum flexibility and a generous timeline to create compliance plans that fit each state’s unique energy needs.
The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy applauds EPA for moving forward with aggressive but attainable carbon standards for existing power plants. The U.S. energy sector represents the largest source of carbon emissions in the nation, accounting for roughly one-third of domestic carbon pollution. The Southeast is home to a significant number of coal-fired power plants, which emitted over 303 million tons of CO2 in 2014 alone. However, as evidenced by SACE’s recently released case study on Southern Company, utilities will be able to comply with the Clean Power Plan without causing a notable increase in customers’ utility bills.
The final version of the rule allows states more time to comply with the rule and increases the overall carbon reduction goal to 32% below 2005 emission levels. Also included is a Clean Energy Incentive Program that rewards early adoption of renewable energy and demand-side energy efficiency in 2020 and 2021.
In addition to reducing carbon pollution and spurring investment in clean energy development, the Clean Power Plan will provide a host of human health benefits. By 2030, the Clean Power Plan will help us avoid up to 3,600 fewer premature deaths; 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children; 1,700 fewer hospital admissions; and avoid 300,000 missed days of school.
“The Southeast is especially vulnerable to climate disruption, given our region’s vast low-lying coastline and already warm annual temperatures,” said Dr. Stephen A. Smith, Executive Director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “The Clean Power Plan represents a huge step forward in cutting our region’s contribution to carbon pollution while incentivizing clean energy development.”
“In addition, EPA has gone out of its way to ensure this plan is flexible by providing multiple strategies for compliance as well as a long timeline to achieve compliance for each state’s plan,” Dr. Smith added. “We support EPA’s approach to reining in carbon pollution and applaud EPA for recognizing both the economic and health benefits of increasing clean energy generation resources as a primary carbon reduction measure.”
Now that EPA has finalized the rule, state air regulators will begin work on drafting and submitting state compliance plans to EPA for approval. States must begin compliance with the Clean Power Plan in 2022.
About Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of Global Climate Change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org