Wind, solar associations’ report details Clean Power Plan strategies

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Trade associations representing the U.S. wind and solar industries today released a new report recommending ways to incorporate renewable energy policies into plans states must develop to reduce power-sector greenhouse gas emissions.

The “Handbook for States” from the American Wind Energy Association and Solar Energy Industries Association breaks down the requirements of U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which directs states to come up with plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through new regulations on coal-fired power plants; energy efficiency; additional use of natural gas; and increasing emissions-free sources of electricity, including renewables and nuclear power.

The workbook includes hypothetical scenarios outlining how a state renewable portfolio standard could be expanded or a carbon-trading program implemented as part of a CPP compliance plan, among various other tools for PUCs and environmental regulators.

The trade associations also include data on current emissions reductions derived from wind and solar generation, which are among the fastest-growing sources of new generation.

In Texas alone, wind generation avoided 25 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2013, according to the report. Rounding out the top five states to see the greatest wind-driven CO2 reductions that year were Illinois, California, Colorado and Iowa, with between 6 million and 10 million avoided tons of CO2 each.

Nationwide, wind avoided about 5 percent of U.S. emissions — 125 million tons of CO2. Solar was responsible for 22 million tons of avoided CO2, according to the trade associations’ calculations using an EPA modeling tool.