Yardley Voice – Going Green Solar Column – September 2015
by Sarah Bergen, Blogger/Publicist, Exact Solar
This is the beginning of a major shift in America’s energy landscape. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final version of the Clean Power Plan last month, which will significantly cut carbon emissions produced by power plants. Fossil fuel-fired power plants are the largest source of carbon emissions in the country, reports the EPA.
The plan aims to cut those emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, a goal that will be reached by doing three things: improving efficiency of coal-fired power plants; increasingly rely on existing natural gas-powered plants; and expanding solar and wind energy.
The Clean Power Plan will affect every state, but what does it mean for Pennsylvania? The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that as of May 2015, the state’s electricity is generated almost entirely by nuclear, coal-fired, and natural gas-fired power plants.
By increasing electricity production at its existing natural gas-powered plants, Pennsylvania can cut some emissions. But because the plan takes into account emissions produced not only while burning, but also while generating natural gas, there remains significant emissions when turning to this cleaner-than-coal fossil fuel.
Turning to renewables will be Pennsylvania’s brightest route.
The Clean Power Plan includes the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP), which is a voluntary incentive program that will reward states for investing early in solar and/or wind energy, with greater rewards earned by projects in low-income communities. Thanks to these incentives, the EPA estimates that renewable energy sources will make up 28% of total generating capacity by the time the plan is fully implemented in 2030.
By turning to renewables to offset carbon emissions, the state can reap the financial benefits of the CEIP and create a more resilient energy grid.
If Pennsylvania takes advantage of the CEIP, you can be sure that solar will spread.