Philadelphia (PRWEB) June 02, 2014
The Environmental Protection Agency today released proposed standards on carbon dioxide pollution from existing power plants. This represents the first standard for carbon dioxide emissions—a greenhouse gas that scientists agree causes global warming—from existing power plants. Pennsylvania will be able to meet most of the EPA’s required emission reduction and create thousands of new jobs through energy efficiency.
“Energy efficiency is the most economically-advantageous path forward for Pennsylvania’s electricity producers in meeting these goals,” said Brian Kauffman, executive director of the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance. “Efficiency not only meets our energy needs, it can help stabilize electricity rates.”
States will have until June 30, 2016 to submit plans for meeting the new standards. It is expected that the EPA will give states flexibility in their implementation designs, allowing each state to design an emission reduction program that fits its existing electricity generation fleet. This means that Pennsylvania can use an approach that has proven to be cost-effective in the Commonwealth for years: Energy efficiency.
Efficiency is good for Pennsylvania’s electricity consumers. Between 2009 and 2012, statewide investment in energy efficiency conserved 3.5 million megawatt hours of electricity and saved ratepayers about $1.3 billion, according to Pennsylvania’s Act 129 Statewide Evaluator. For every $1 that Pennsylvania invested in energy efficiency, ratepayers received $3 in benefits.
Utilizing energy efficiency to reduce emissions improves Pennsylvania’s economy by creating jobs. Kevin Warren, principal of Warren Energy Engineering, LLC, said that, “We have already added jobs as a result of Act 129 and anticipate continued growth once Clean Air Act 111(d) is implemented.” Studies indicate that Warren is not alone: Both the National Resources Defense Council and the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy have released studies projecting strong job creation should Pennsylvania use energy efficiency to meet the EPA’s targets.
Pennsylvania’s policymakers have the opportunity to innovate and advance energy efficiency and other solutions over the next two years while the plans are being developed. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Pennsylvania is the second-highest electricity generating state in the nation, and the third-biggest emitter of carbon dioxide. Increased energy efficiency is the quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to both reduce pollution and lower energy costs. Energy efficiency is not only good for the environment, it is good for business.
About the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance
The Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance (KEEA) is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(6) corporation dedicated to promoting the energy efficiency and renewable energy industries in Pennsylvania. KEEA advocates on behalf of energy efficiency and renewable energy professionals on the local, state, and federal levels. By representing the interests of the clean energy industry in Pennsylvania, KEEA is growing the market for energy efficiency and helping the Keystone State secure a prosperous, sustainable tomorrow.