States and Power Companies Lead the Way on the Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan is now officially in business, and protecting the health and safety of all Americans.

The Clean Power Plan establishes America’s first-ever nationwide limits on harmful carbon pollution from our nation’s largest source, power plants. It builds on years of stakeholder engagement and input, and adopts a flexible approach that empowers states to develop their own individually tailored compliance plans that reflect their own policy priorities.

States have tremendous flexibility to minimize costs and maximize the public health and economic benefits of state-based solutions to reduce harmful carbon pollution.

States in the Driver’s Seat

Not surprisingly, states from Michigan to Colorado have recognized the benefits of submitting state-forged compliance plans under this flexible framework.

Despite misguided political efforts to pressure them to “just say no,” state officials are constructively engaging and developing solutions — and in the process, demonstrating leadership and innovation.

In the months since the Clean Power Plan was released, state policymakers have made clear that they intend to lead. Let’s take a closer look:

The Republican Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, indicating Michigan would comply with the Clean Power Plan, said:

The best way to protect Michigan is to develop a state plan that reflects Michigan’s priorities of adaptability, affordability, reliability and protection of the environment. We need to seize the opportunity to make Michigan’s energy decisions in Lansing…

Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania said:

My administration is committed to making the Clean Power Plan work for Pennsylvania… Working with the legislature, industry leaders and citizens we will create a plan to ensure these new rules are applied fairly, allow for adjustments, and that they create economic opportunities for the commonwealth’s energy economy. Today’s plan sets ambitious but achievable goals for reducing carbon emissions statewide and addressing climate change in fair and smart ways that takes into account legitimate concerns of all parties.

Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado said:

We realize these are ambitious goals and may be challenging for Colorado, but we have risen to these challenges before by developing a mix of cost-effective strategies across the energy spectrum. We will continue our work with utilities and communities to meet these new federal requirements while preserving affordable energy rates. Clean air is important to all of Colorado and building on the work that’s already done, we will continue on the path of improving our local air quality.

Governor Jerry Brown of California said:

I welcome this bold and absolutely necessary carbon reduction plan. California is fully engaged in tackling climate change, and we look forward to working with other states and the White House as we implement these new mandates.

Power Companies Are Working With States to Craft Compliance Plans

Major power companies have also recognized the opportunities available with home-grown compliance plans that fully harvest state flexibility and the potential of a low-carbon economy. Xcel Energy, for example, just announced plans to cut carbon emissions across its Northern States Power system by 60 percent by 2030, at negligible cost to consumers.

Calpine stated:

The Clean Power Plan represents a commitment to continuing the transition from carbon intensive generation to efficient, low-carbon generation …This flexible, market-based solution will reward the companies that invest and have invested smartly in cleaner generation. We applaud the EPA for its efforts throughout this collaborative process and look forward to working with the agency, states and other stakeholders as the rule is ultimately implemented.

Xcel Energy stated:

We appreciate the EPA’s willingness to work with stakeholders in developing this groundbreaking and complex set of regulations. It will take time to thoroughly review and assess the full impact of the rules. While we expect the Clean Power Plan does not provide everything we hoped for in terms of fully recognizing the early actions of proactive states and utilities, Xcel Energy is ready to move ahead. We look forward to working with our states in the best interest of our customers, ensuring we continue to meet their expectations for clean, reliable and affordable power.

PSEG stated they support the Clean Power Plan:

We are pleased with the recognition that energy efficiency is an important tool to reducing greenhouse gases. We understand states may be incentivized to promote energy efficiency for low-income customers as an early tool to reduce greenhouse gases. We believe utilities can play a critical role in making sure that all energy users — especially low and moderate income customers who need it most — have access to energy efficiency.

NV Energy stated, upon release of the final Clean Power Plan:

We supported the rule as it was proposed in June 2014, including the building block and flexible compliance concepts. We do not anticipate a significant impact on our customer rates as we move towards reliable renewable generation methods and reducing our emissions.

NextEra stated, upon Governor Snyder’s announcement:

As the nation’s leading renewable energy developer, owner and operator, with a significant presence in Michigan, we take great pride in developing and operating projects that are environmentally responsible and economically viable. We applaud Governor Snyder’s efforts and are in complete support of Michigan submitting a state implementation plan as part of EPA’s Clean Power Plan. We look forward to working with the State of Michigan and doing what we can to help the state cost-effectively meet the goals set out in the Clean Power Plan.

There is also broad business and investor support for the Clean Power Plan, with 365 companies from 29 states signing letters in support of the Clean Power Plan in July, saying:

Our support is firmly grounded in economic reality. Clean energy solutions are cost effective and innovative ways to drive investment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Increasingly, businesses rely on renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions to cut costs and improve corporation performance.

State officials, power companies, and businesses across the country recognize the importance of stepping up to the plate, thoughtfully shaping the path to reduce dangerous carbon pollution while charting their own clean energy future, and capitalizing on the substantial opportunity the Clean Power Plan presents.

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