History in the Making
For too long, fossil fuel power plants poured unlimited amounts of carbon into the air, making it the largest source of climate change pollution in America, at nearly 40%. And, for decades we've watched and worried as the dangers of climate change gather and grow, but today we made the emphatic statement: we're striking back. After much anticipation, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.EPA) announced its final rule for the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from our nation's electric sector. With this announcement, the Clean Power Plan takes the single biggest action against climate change, making it a historic stand against the central environmental crisis of our time.
EPA's Clean Power Plan
The final Clean Power Plan rule requires a mass-based reduction of 32% in carbon pollution from our nation's electric sector from 2005 levels by 2030 and seeks to accelerate the adoption of carbon-free energy, such as clean, renewable energy sources. Like the draft rule, the final Clean Power Plan gives states the flexibility to chart their own course to carbon reductions and does not dictate a specific approach to reducing carbon emissions.The state will have one year to submit to U.S .EPA either a full plan or an initial submittal, with final plans due by September, 2018.
Michigan's Clean Energy Future
The good news is we're in great shape to meet and perhaps even exceed its Clean Power Plan emission targets. For the last few years Michigan has consistently surpassed its energy optimization and renewable energy standards, making it no stranger to going above and beyond when it comes to clean energy. That's because clean energy works for Michigan.
- Michigan has already saved customers nearly a billion dollars on energy bills through energy efficiency.
- Of the entire energy sector jobs (not just clean energy) in Michigan as of 2013, more than half, or 46,000, jobs are related to energy efficiency.
- Michigan already invested $2.9 billion to build renewable energy to the state, which resulted in more than 8,000 jobs.
The bottom line is that if Michigan stays on course toward a clean energy future, it will have no problem meeting these targets, and will do so while lowering bills, enhancing grid reliability, putting people to work and reducing harmful pollution that threatens our health and our future.
Clean Energy Standards the Best State Policy to Fulfill Clean Power Plan
As shown above, Michigan has already made significant progress toward achieving carbon reductions and spurring clean energy deployment in the state through the energy optimization and renewable energy standards. However, the state's standards are currently on the chopping block and the state is in danger of inhibiting its ability to cost-effectively reduce carbon pollution. For Michigan lawmakers, one thing is very clear, now is not the time to eliminate the policies that have put Michigan on a clean energy pathway. Those policies work for Michigan's economy and its environment, and without them, Michigan could lose its place at the front of the pack. The future of the electricity industry is a clean energy future and Michigan is poised to be a big winner, if it doesn't fumble the ball in the statehouse.