What Does Trump’s “Affordable Clean Energy” Proposal Really Mean?

The Clean Power Plan put into place during the Obama administration marked one of the largest political maneuvers to limit the amount of carbon emissions that can be produced by utilities and power plants. In recent weeks, this bold action could be mostly undone by the Trump administration which seeks to implement the Affordable Clean Energy Plan.

This move would give states the chance to forgo carbon emissions standards in order to maintain failing coal power plants. While this would temporarily ease the issue of job displacement for those currently employed such plants, it sets back the transition toward clean energy (as well as shifting these workers into easily transferable renewable jobs).

Furthermore, should states decide to continue the operation of these coal powered plants, less pressure exists for utilities and states to offer subsidies and incentives that help homeowners and businesses overcome the initial investment of implementing an energy efficiency upgrade. Certain states have already promised that they will continue their pursuit of clean energy initiatives.

However, the Affordable Clean Energy Plan leaves areas where politicians refuse to recognize climate change unable to access renewable resources and clean technology at an actual affordable rate simply because of bad politics.

For more information, read on below with an assessment from Bloomberg News written by Alex Ebert:

States could prolong the life of aging and less efficient power plants if they so choose under the EPA’s new proposed carbon emissions rule, Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said.
Wheeler touted the agency’s Affordable Clean Energy proposal, which would replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, during a visit to Columbus, Ohio, Aug. 28. While the Clean Power Plan set statewide carbon dioxide reduction requirements, the latest proposal would set federal guidelines for reductions and then give states three years to design their own requirements for each power plant.
That will help aging power plants, Wheeler said, because states can regulate each plant individually, and not based on the Obama administration’s more stringent standards.
“Instead of saying every plant will be judged by the same standard, they’re going to be judged by the class they’re in and the age of the facility,” which Wheeler said could prolong the life of older plants or coal-fired plants.
Environmental groups are attacking the proposal as a step back. They said it will allow states to prop up coal plants that produce more pollution and delay moving toward cleaner energy resources.
The Clean Power Plan never took effect after being halted by the U.S. Supreme Court, but Wheeler said the Affordable Clean Energy rule proposal would survive a legal challenge. The challenge to the Obama administration’s standards was mounted by Republican-led states opposed to the carbon dioxide limits.
“States can set reduction targets for each plant, so it’s not going to require the wholesale closure of coal power plants, or any type. It’s going to level the playing field,” Wheeler said at the Ohio Chamber of Commerce event. He said the plan also will be a boon to businesses and residential customers through lower energy costs than what would have been available under the Clean Power Plan.

Source: Bloomberg News

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