After five meetings of stakeholders to discuss the best way to implement the Clean Power Plan, “there is no consensus” on how to proceed, said David K. Paylor, director of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality earlier today. “What works for some people doesn’t work for others.”
On the positive side, it looks like Virginia may have plenty of time to figure out the best approach. A legal appeal by 25 states to block the plan likely will end up decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, but probably not this year. Virginia will use the time “to get smarter,” Paylor said at the Virginia Power Dialog, a conclave of Virginia college students held at the University of Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University.
A virtue of the Clean Power Plan, said Paylor, is its flexibility. States can choose between three broad approaches: setting CO2 emission targets by rate (CO2 emitted per unit of electric power), by total volume of CO2 emitted from existing power plants, or by total volume of CO2 emitted from both existing and new facilities. Each has different implications for CO2 reduction, rate impact and reliability of service, and each offers pros and cons for different stakeholders including electric utilities, independent power producers, energy consumers, and environmentalists.
While goals vary by state, depending upon their energy mix, the national goal is to achieve a 30% reduction in 2005-level CO2 emissions by 2030. Because of Virginia’s aggressive shift from coal to natural gas over the past decade, the state had already achieved a 30% reduction by 2014. Environmental groups are pushing an approach that would achieve much bigger reductions.
While the legal fate of the Clean Power Plan is uncertain, the McAuliffe administration is backing a broad array of measures to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, said Angela Navarro, deputy secretary of Natural Resources. Among a half-dozen initiatives she mentioned, the state has set a goal of cutting energy consumption in state facilities 15% by 2017.
The administration wants to “lead by example,” she said. State procurement policies can build the market by generating demand for conservation and renewable electricity. Ideally, growing demand will induce suppliers and manufacturers to set up shop here. “The governor’s dream,” she said, “is for solar manufacturers to locate in Virginia and to have for solar panels stamped with ‘Made in Virginia.'”
— JABThere are currently no comments highlighted.