Written by Courtney Hanson (Midwest Outreach Coordinator, Union of Concerned Scientists)
The Union of Concerned Scientists has released an analysis showing that most states are already making significant progress toward cutting carbon emissions from power plants, and that can in turn help them meet their Clean Power Plan goals. The analysis shows that, through decisions already made such as the retirement of uneconomic coal plants, and compliance with existing renewable electricity standards and energy efficiency resource standards, many states all across the country are well positioned to reliably and affordably achieve the 2020 emissions reduction benchmarks. 31 states are on track to be more than halfway toward meeting the 2020 benchmarks set out by the EPA, and 14 of those states are on track to surpass those benchmarks.
- Illinois is on track to be 82 percent of the way towards meeting its 2020 benchmark because of its renewable electricity and energy efficiency standards and announced coal plant closures (we assume announced coal retirements occur and existing standards are met in all states).
- The renewable portfolio standard requires utilities to produce 25 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2025.
- The energy efficiency portfolio standard requires utilities to reduce energy demand by 2 percent each year compared to the previous year’s sales.
- Eight coal generating units will retire between 2012 and 2020. These units generate 9,204 gigawatt-hours of electricity or 12 percent of the state’s coal-fired generation.
- Illinois, along with 22 other states, is leading the country, as these states have already taken steps to achieve more than 75 percent of their 2020 benchmarks.
- Illinois can meet its mandatory 2030 emissions reduction requirement a number of ways, including:
- Creating a regional program that allows Midwest states to work together to reduce emissions. Illinois state regulators and utilities are considering this approach.
- Strengthening the state’s renewable electricity and energy efficiency standards. A recent UCS analysis found that requiring utilities to generate 35 of their electricity with renewable resources by 2030 and reduce energy consumption 20 percent by 2025 would reduce the typical residential customer’s electricity bill 11 percent, or $10 a month, in 2020 and 23 percent, or $22 a month, in 2030.
Please see UCS Senior Energy Analyst Jeremy Richardson’s blogpost with the key findings from the UCS analysis, and links to a table summarizing state progress toward the 2020 benchmarks and a slide deck (note that the 2020 benchmarks are NOT a mandatory target in the draft CPP).
Additionally, see Senior Analyst Jeff Deyette’s blogpost highlighting the irony that many of the states suing the EPA over the Clean Power Plan are actually already taking steps that would put them most or all of the way toward meeting the 2020 emissions benchmarks.
The UCS Press release is here: http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/most-states-on-track-to-meet-cpp-benchmarks-0500