The Clean Power Plan is designed to strengthen the trend of clean energy by setting standards for power plants and goals for states to cut their carbon dioxide pollution.
The final version of the plan aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electrical power generation by 32 percent within twenty-five years relative to 2005 levels. The plan is focused on reducing emissions from coal-burning power plants, as well as increasing the use of renewable energy, and energy conservation. President Obama also hoped that the plan would help persuade other countries that emit large amounts of carbon dioxide to officially pledge to reduce their emissions at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (The “Paris Climate Agreement”).
Health Risks and Mortality
There are real risks and consequences from Coal Power Plant emissions. To find out the risk in your state, use this interactive map.
Goals of the Clean Power Plant Rule
The plan is focused on reducing emissions from coal-burning power plants, increasing the use of renewable energy, and conservation.
States are to implement their plans by focusing on three building blocks: increasing the generation efficiency of existing fossil fuel plants, substituting lower carbon dioxide emitting natural gas generation for coal powered generation, and substituting generation from new zero carbon dioxide emitting renewable sources for fossil fuel powered generation.
States may use regionally available low carbon generation sources when substituting for in-state coal generation and coordinate with other states to develop multi-state plans.
Economic, Environmental and Health Benefits
EPA estimates the Clean Power Plan will reduce the pollutants that contribute to smog and soot by 25 percent, and the reduction will lead to net climate and health benefits of an estimated $25 billion to $45 billion per year in 2030. That includes the avoidance of 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks among children and 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths.
the plan will save the average American family $85 per year
President Obama’s EPA projected that the plan will save the average American family $85 per year in energy bills in 2030, and it will save enough energy to power 30 million homes and save consumers $155 billion from 2020-2030.
The plan would create 30 percent more renewable energy generation in 2030 and help to lower the costs of renewable energy. It also would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, according to the NRDC.
wind power has a lower cost per unit of energy produced than coal or natural gas
According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal in 2015 in the United States produced 1,364,000,000 metric tons of CO2 amounted to 71% of CO2 emissions from the electric power sector. By switching this coal generation to a cleaner source such as wind power, emissions could be significantly reduced and electric power costs could be reduced. According to some studies, wind power has a lower cost per unit of energy produced than coal or natural gas.
Poor and Minority Groups Affected More
The poor, minority groups, and people who live in areas downwind of multiple power plants are likely to be disproportionately exposed to the health risks and costs of fine particle pollution.