A diverse alliance is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to expand incentives for energy efficiency in the Clean Power Plan. Led by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the group argues that energy efficiency should receive access to the same credits as renewable energy through the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP). The CPP’s early-action program, as currently drafted, puts efficiency at a disadvantage.
“Recognizing the importance of the CEIP as an opportunity to spur early investment in low-cost emission reduction strategies, we recommend that the Renewable Energy Reserve (RER) be expanded to include energy efficiency policies and measures,” states the letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Signatories include a broad array of businesses, policymakers, localities, environmental groups, health advocates, and faith communities.
The CEIP rewards early investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that serve low-income communities. It offers an extra incentive to renewable energy, and the alliance requests that the EPA also include energy efficiency in this pool of credits.
“Energy efficiency is generally the least-cost option for states looking to comply with the Clean Power Plan, but efficiency is not yet being fully considered as a strategy for the Clean Energy Incentive Plan,” said Steven Nadel, executive director, ACEEE. “The Environmental Protection Agency should expand the pool of credits available to renewable energy to also include energy efficiency, which would help control electric costs and keep money in the hands of communities.”
“The Clean Power Plan goes far beyond protecting our climate, because decreased air pollution will have powerful benefits for public health,” said Catherine Thomasson, MD, executive director of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “By encouraging energy efficiency, the Clean Energy Incentive Program will help decrease the power sector’s reliance on fossil fuels — which decreases the particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and other harmful air pollution created by burning fossil fuels.”
The proposal requests that EPA treat energy efficiency as equal to renewable energy in the CEIP. The group argues that exclusion of energy efficiency is a significant oversight that could cause states to opt for more expensive compliance options.
Reducing emissions through energy efficiency costs significantly less than other means. These savings get passed down to customers, resulting in local job creation and economic development. The EPA’s latest proposal for the CEIP offers an opportunity to ensure that states can reward investments in energy efficiency while getting credit for the pollution it avoids. ACEEE and its partners are seeking to put energy efficiency on a level playing field with renewable energy. To read their letter to the EPA, visit the ACEEE website.