NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Potential Energy Impacts of the EPA Proposed Clean Power Plan

August 13, 2015

In June of 2014 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a nationwide regulation to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants in the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  This proposal would set maximum limits on CO2 emission rates for electricity systems. These rates were determined after an analysis of emission reduction opportunities in each state.

The EPA is encouraging each state to reach CO2 emission rate targets by implementing four types of changes. These Building Blocks, as the EPA refers to them, include heat rate improvements at coal units (1), increased utilization of natural gas combined cycle (NGCC) units (2), expanding use of renewables and nuclear energy (3), and improvement in end-use energy efficiency (4).

  • Consumersꞌ electric rates in 43 states would see double-digit increases.
  • The national electricity grid which is not prepared to operate on renewable energy sources (required by the new EPA policy) would require $2 trillion in upgrades.
  • The benefits of the new regulations would only reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations by less than one-half of a percent and lower the global average temperature by less than 2/100th of a degree.

Whether the EPA has the statutory authority to require states to include emissions, other than emissions from specific pre-existing electricity generation units, is debatable. The consequences of the CPP could have a devastating impact on the general public.

Sources: David Harrison, Jr., Anne E. Smith, "Potential Energy Impacts of the EPA Proposed Clean Power Plan," National Economic Research Associates. October, 2014 and Laura Sheehan, "EPA Outdoes Itself with Final Carbon Plan, Consumers Pay the Price," American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. August 3, 2015.

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