Trump’s “Affordable Clean Energy” Plan Threatens Energy Efficiency Progress

Emilygrene Corp. and each of its divisions has one mission – energy efficiency. How we produce energy is equally as important as the devices and upgrades we install into homes and businesses to control how we use it. Energy efficiency goes by many names – clean energy, green energy, sustainable energy – but they all mean one thing: people working together for to combat climate change.

It was announced on Tuesday that President Trump and the EPA will be repealing Obama era caps on carbon emissions – those nasty byproducts produced by burning coal that heat up the planet and cause a whole host of environmental disasters. This decision was made with the intent of saving the coal industry from failing. However, our friends at the Scientific American attest in “Trump’s Affordable Clean Energy” Plan Won’t Save Coal” written by Benjamin Storrow and originally published by E&E News that this is not the case.

The following is an excerpt from that article:

President Trump’s diluted Clean Power Plan is unlikely to save the coal industry, but it represents a setback for U.S. efforts to address climate change, analysts say.
In removing a government cap on power plant emissions, Trump leaves American climate policy to the whims of the power market, one of the few areas of the economy to post steep emissions reductions in recent years.
The combination of cheap natural gas, stagnating power demand and advancements in wind and solar has prompted a wave of coal plant closures and slashed power-sector emissions. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that U.S. power-sector emissions decreased 24 percent between 2005 and 2016.
The question is whether that will continue in the absence of a government-mandated cap on power plant emissions.
“The world has shifted dramatically in the last few years to the point where we are going to get pretty close to the targets in the Clean Power Plan even without it, so the effect of weakening it is much smaller,” said Jason Bordoff, director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.
“But that does not mean it does not matter,” he added. “The Clean Power Plan was a starting point. It was a framework within which we could continue to bring down power-sector emissions over time, as required to meet our climate targets. That remains a major loss with this rollback even if market conditions will continue to force coal’s decline in the medium term.”
Indeed, the calculus is even more difficult for coal. Wholesale power prices remain suppressed, power demand is flat and natural gas prices show no signs of increasing. Utilities, meanwhile, are adding renewables at a rapid clip, eager to harvest federal tax credits and meet state clean energy mandates.
EPA’s proposal removes the emissions requirements that made it difficult, if not impossible, to build new coal plants or upgrade existing ones, said Joe Aldina, director of U.S. coal analytics at S&P Global Platts. But it does little to alter utilities’ financial outlook or ease the threat of future carbon regulation.
“There are pure economic reasons why people aren’t building coal plants,” Aldina said. “It’s cheaper to build a natural gas plant. It’s cheaper to run a combined-cycle gas turbine in most parts of the country.”
Under Trump’s plan, EPA would allow states to decide whether or not to cap power plants’ carbon emissions. And where states pursuing emissions reductions could once employ energy efficiency and renewables as part of their emissions strategy, the updated plan limits their options to improvements in coal plant efficiency.

Read the entire article by clicking here.

All hope is not lost, but this new move by the Trump administration certainly will make the push for 100 percent renewable energy independence that much more difficult for little to no payoff. It is now up to all of us to ensure that we continue to do our part as we battle to make the future just a little greener.

Check back on Emilygrene Blog for updates on the Clean Power Plan and tips for how energy efficiency can be a part of all our lives.

Source: Scientific American

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