Document: A handbook for how states can incorporate renewables in compliance plans

Source: By Inside EPA • Posted: Monday, April 6, 2015

“Renewable energy can provide large emissions reductions in a cost-effective manner when part of a balanced energy portfolio and provide significant positive economic returns to a state.”

So say the American Wind Energy Association and the Solar Energy Industries Association in a new “handbook” for states to use in weighing how to include renewable energy in complying with the Clean Power Plan.

The document is a “starting point,” the organizations say, “to help states understand how they can use renewable energy emission reduction strategies in their section 111(d) compliance plans as part of an overall balanced energy portfolio. The framework presented herein should reduce the barriers for state agencies to incorporate renewable energy policies and programs into state plans by clarifying and summarizing existing EPA guidance on the matter. With the information presented in this document, states should be in a better position to seek credit for renewable energy in their state plans.”

The handbook includes a list of “just some of the reasons” why the groups believe renewable energy makes sense for states:

  • Generating electricity from renewable energy has been well documented to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Renewable energy by its very nature does not emit carbon, or other air pollutants, when producing electricity.
  • Wind energy alone reduced carbon emissions by 127 million tons per year nationally in 2013, or more than 5% of electric sector emissions, with 11 states achieving reductions of greater than 10% and three other states just under 10%, according to calculations using an EPA tool.
  • Solar energy generation can be expected to avoid 13.8 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in 2014, assuming one GWh of solar generation eliminating 690 metric tons of CO2 emissions. Of this, distributed PV capacity (as of June 2014) will generate 10,450 GWh/year and displace 7.2 million metric tons of CO2 per year.2 Emission reductions resulting from solar deployment are certain to grow, as the industry grew 53% in 2013 compared to 2012.