Earlier this week, Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposal to eliminate the Clean Power Plan (CPP), without putting forward a new idea for how to reduce dangerous carbon emissions. Power plants are the second largest sources of carbon pollution in our country, close behind cars and trucks. Together their emissions drive the changes in our climate that threaten our health and our communities.
The CPP, established under President Obama, is the biggest step America has taken to combat climate change. It would have cut the electric sector’s carbon pollution by 32 percent nationally, relative to 2005 levels. Its pollution limits, by the year 2030, also would have prevented 90,000 asthma attacks and 3600 premature deaths annually through reductions of soot and smog.
What a CPP rollback means for Nevada
The CPP would have created around 4,500 jobs in Nevada, and added a third of a billion dollars to the state’s annual GDP, primarily by boosting the state’s developing clean energy economy. Nevada is a natural clean energy leader—which is why we pushed so hard for a Renewable Portfolio Standard increase this legislative session—with its nation-leading geothermal and solar resources. By putting the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, the CPP would have increased the market for clean energy, one of the things Nevada does best.
Electricity customers also lose with Trump’s rollback. The CPP would promote cuts in energy waste by encouraging better efficiency programs. This could lead to save average households as much as seven percent on their annual electricity bills, in the year 2030.
Nevada still can make progress
The Nevada legislature showed leadership by passing 11 clean energy bills this year, and Governor Sandoval signed 9 of those bills, including three that restore net metering and increase energy efficiency investment. The Governor unfortunately vetoed Assembly Bill 206, which would have raised Nevada’s renewable portfolio standard. Companies locating or expanding in Nevada, are demanding (and getting) more renewable energy.
Even in the Trump era, the state can continue to make progress.
- Nevada should raise its renewable portfolio standard in the 2019 legislative session
- The Public Utility Commission should set ambitious energy efficiency targets as it implements this year’s Senate Bill 150 and Assembly Bill 223
- Policymakers should put clean energy at the heart of any transition to Energy Choice.
Nevada needs to keep moving ahead. Progress now will help us get federal solutions to climate and clean energy back in place.
EPA is required to take public comments on the proposal and is required to take meaningful steps to cut carbon emissions. It will be important for Nevadans to register their concerns in this process.