Monday, June 27, 2016

Study Shows Clean Power Plan Saves Money

Andrea Sears, Public News Service

A cost effective clean power plan would save Pennsylvania households an average $1,880 over the next 15 years. (Rennett Stowe/flickr.com)
A cost effective clean power plan would save Pennsylvania households an average $1,880 over the next 15 years. (Rennett Stowe/flickr.com)
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Implementing a clean power plan could cut carbon emissions and save Pennsylvania consumers money, according to a new study by the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Opponents of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan maintain that enforcing mandatory reductions in emissions from power plants would bankrupt the nation.

But Marilyn Brown, the study’s author, says there are cost effective ways to go about it.

"What we're showing is in fact if done wisely, we can save consumers money and also prevent fossil fuels from heating up the planet," she states.

The report says if nothing is done, electric bills would go up in Pennsylvania by more than 22 percent over the next 15 years, but with the Clean Power Plan, the average household would save almost $1,900 in the same time period.

The U.S. Supreme Court put the plan on hold during a legal challenge by 27 states and a number of corporations.

But Joe Minott, executive director of the Clean Air Council, says Gov. Tom Wolf is still committed to developing a clean power plan for Pennsylvania.

"There are various attempts by the legislature to interfere with the governor's right to come up with a plan that are slowing things down, but generally environmentalists are pretty optimistic that we'll come up with a good plan," Minott says.

Even if the courts strike down the EPA's plan, states are free to implement plans of their own.

Some suggest phasing out coal-fired power plants by increasing reliance on natural gas, but gas also is a potent contributor to climate change.

Brown points out that increasing energy efficiency is a piece of the puzzle that's often overlooked.

"If we cut back on our electricity requirements by investing in efficient equipment, then we can prevent the build-up of this expensive infrastructure that would not serve the next generation very well," he explains.

Nationally, the goal of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is a 32 percent reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, slowing global climate change, saving billions of dollars in health care costs, and preventing up to 6,600 premature deaths.

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