Testimony of Interwest Executive Director on EPA Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule

July 29, 2014

EPA Public Hearing: Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule

Denver, CO

Good morning. My name is Sarah Cottrell Propst. I am the executive director of the Interwest Energy Alliance, a non-profit trade association that represents the nation’s leading companies in the renewable energy industry, bringing them together with the West’s energy advocacy community to expand markets for renewable energy. Interwest works in six states: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming.

Interwest strongly supports EPA’s draft rule for reducing carbon emissions from electric power plants under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act – the “Clean Power Plan.”

Renewables are big economic drivers. For example, the American Wind Energy Association’s 2013 annual market report indicates that in the six Interwest states, the wind industry had invested over $9.5 billion by the end of 2013.  There are 5,234 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity online in these states.[1] The solar industry is also a big jobs creator. The Solar Energy Industries Association counts over 900 solar companies throughout the value chain in the six Interwest states.[2]

 

The EPA proposal will move the United States toward a cleaner, more stable environment, while modernizing the electric grid and still supplying the reliable, affordable power needed for economic growth. It also provides states the flexibility they need to reduce carbon emissions from power plants.

In particular, Interwest supports:

  • Incorporating the role played by zero-emitting renewable energy when setting the state carbon dioxide reduction targets;
  • The inclusion of interim targets to help ensure states meet their emission reduction requirements;
  • Allowing renewable energy and energy efficiency as compliance options;
  • The endorsement of programs like state renewable electricity standards as compliance options; and
  • Allowing multi-state opportunities for reducing emissions.

 

We strongly support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, and the final rule should build on this solid foundation.

 

The EPA’s assumptions in the draft rule related to renewable energy significantly underestimate the amount of timely and cost-effective reductions available from these sources. The final rule can and should require emissions reductions that go further, faster than proposed in the draft rule. Relatedly, the final rule should allow periodic review of targets to reflect technological progress, rewarding early use of advanced technologies.

 

In addition, to encourage early efforts to reduce emissions and capture the economic benefits of advanced energy growth as soon as possible, EPA’s final rule should give full credit to emissions reductions achieved by projects qualified under the state’s initial compliance plan that are completed prior to 2020.

Wind, solar, and other forms of renewable energy are a widely available, affordable, reliable, and rapidly scalable source of greenhouse gas emissions reductions. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average cost of wind energy has fallen 43 percent over the last four years. Renewables like wind and solar have no variable fuel costs, and you can lock in a fixed price for two decades or more, protecting electricity consumers from price fluctuations.

 

The DOE has calculated that 20% wind energy by 2030 would reduce carbon emissions by 23%. And by 2050, the 550 million metric tons of carbon emissions reduced by wind energy would avoid $520 billion in damages due to climate change. The EPA’s draft rule is a critical step toward this cleaner future.

 

In conclusion, Interwest supports the EPA proposed rule because the rule will ensure reductions of dangerous emissions, and send a strong market signal to the private sector to invest in home-grown renewable energy. The renewable energy industry is prepared to redouble our efforts to help the nation reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to offer Interwest’s input on this important rule, and thank you to the EPA for your hard work.

 

[1] http://www.awea.org/amr2013

[2] http://www.seia.org/policy/state-solar-policy

Trackbacks

  1. […] Sarah Cottrell Propst, executive director of the Interwest Energy Alliance, representing renewable energy companies and advocates Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, will testify that, “the rule will ensure reductions of dangerous emissions, and send a strong market signal to the private sector to invest in home-grown renewable energy.” She says that “to encourage early efforts to reduce emissions and capture the economic benefits of advanced energy growth as soon as possible, EPA’s final rule should give full credit to emissions reductions achieved by projects qualified under the state’s initial compliance plan that are completed prior to 2020.” Her full testimony is available here. […]

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