Cheaper, reliable renewable energy is ready to help states meet EPA’s new carbon rule cost-effectively

June 2, 2014

Washington, D.C.— Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released its first-ever proposed rule limiting carbon dioxide pollution from existing power plants. Renewable energy industries have done their part to cut costs and are already helping every state make progress to cut their carbon emissions. Even better, these industries can help states make even more significant reductions, in accordance with the proposed rule – saving consumers money and driving local economic development in the process.

Over the last few years, wind, solar, biomass, waste-to-energy and other renewable energy technologies have experience record growth and a major reduction in costs. For example, solar panel energy’s costs have declined as much as 60 percent, wind energy has driven up to $25 billion in private investment in a single year, biomass is coming off of its biggest growth year ever in 2013, and the 85 waste-to-energy facilities in the U.S. have added over $5 billion to the U.S. economy. Costs are continuing to trend downwards, and the reductions in carbon dioxide emissions and deployed megawatts are rapidly heading upwards. Below are statements from several of the renewable energy trade associations in reaction to EPA’s draft proposal today:

“Reducing carbon pollution by deploying renewable energy will keep electricity affordable and reliable, create jobs, and support local economic development. Renewable energy technologies have become integral and reliable parts of the U.S. electricity supply. Meeting these regulations is very doable, and the U.S.-made renewable energy industries are ready to do so affordably,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association.  

“Wind, solar and other renewable, carbon-free energy sources are already helping states reduce their harmful carbon emissions – and there’s a lot more we can do,” said Rhone Resch, President and CEO of SEIA. “Today, there is a wide range of cost-effective options that states can consider to create a balanced energy portfolio and satisfy new requirements under Section 111 (d).  These clean energy options can help regulators customize their approach in order to meet the particular circumstances and needs of their state.  We look forward to working with them in the future.”

“The Energy Recovery Council applauds the Obama Administration on today’s announcement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants,” said Ted Michaels, President of the Energy Recovery Council. “ERC believes that renewable technologies, such as waste-to-energy, will help give states a variety options and strategies to meet its objectives.  Waste-to-energy is a critical greenhouse gas mitigation tool relied on by the European Union to achieve GHG reductions, and with significant potential for further deployment in the U.S.  According to the U.S. EPA, every ton of municipal solid waste processed at a waste-to-energy facility reduces lifecycle GHG emissions by one ton of carbon dioxide equivalents.”

“Biomass Power Association commends the Obama Administration for its strong commitment to reducing carbon emissions from existing power plants,” said Bob Cleaves, President and CEO of the Biomass Power Association. “This is an exciting time for renewable energy, especially the biomass industry. The National Climate Assessment released by the White House in May noted the potential for bioenergy to displace up to 30 percent of the nation’s current U.S. petroleum consumption, while improving forest health. As a reliable baseload power source that generates electricity around the clock, biomass is practical and adaptable – an excellent alternative or accompaniment to fossil fuels. Support for biomass is also support for rural economies; many of the jobs generated by biomass facilities are in the heavily forested, sparsely populated areas that need jobs the most.”

For more information on how each technology is already reducing carbon emissions, please see the below links:

AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry. We represent 1,000 member companies and over 100,000 jobs in the U.S. economy, serving as a powerful voice for how wind works for America. Members include global leaders in wind power and energy development, turbine manufacturing, and component and service suppliers. They gather each year at the Western Hemisphere’s largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, next in Chicago, Illinois, May 7-10, 2018. Find information about wind energy on the AWEA website. Gain insight into industry issues on AWEA's blog, Into the Wind. And please join us on Facebook, and follow @AWEA on Twitter.