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Report: Efficiency is the Easy Way for MI to Meet Carbon Rules

PHOTO: A new report shows that energy-efficiency policies could be all Michigan needs to meet new EPA carbon reduction rules, which are expected to be issued next week. Photo credit: Microsoft Images.
PHOTO: A new report shows that energy-efficiency policies could be all Michigan needs to meet new EPA carbon reduction rules, which are expected to be issued next week. Photo credit: Microsoft Images.
May 28, 2014

Lansing, MI - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to announce new carbon pollution controls in a matter of days. They will affect existing coal-fired power plants, and there have been warnings about cost. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has another option: energy efficiency. Its report says targets can be met through efficiency policies. Comments from Sara Hayes, ACEEE senior manager and researcher, and report author. Image available: Photo of an electric meter.

The E-P-A's new regulations to require carbon pollution controls at existing coal-fired power plants is expected in about a week. There have been warnings about costs that would be passed along to consumers, but a study from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy shows that efficiency could meet carbon reduction targets, and report author Sara Hayes says there are additional benefits for Michigan.

"In Michigan, the adoption of these solutions would result in 13,800 new jobs and an increase in gross state product of $390 million. This approach saves ratepayers $900 million."

The report says the numbers would be achieved by 2030, under a scenario of cutting carbon by 26-percent below 2012 levels.

Hayes says efficiency may be the easiest way for states to meet the E-P-A carbon reduction plan. Efficiency policies include state energy savings targets, updating building codes, constructing combined heat and power facilities, and adopting standards for major appliances.

"Energy efficiency is the ultimate resource. It's clean, reliable and cheap. The Environmental Protection Agency has the opportunity to improve air quality and our economy, in one fell swoop."

She adds that energy-efficient technologies in the E-P-A plan have already been tried and tested, and many states have already adopted them in some form.

The E-P-A's new regulations to require carbon pollution controls at existing coal-fired power plants is expected in about a week. A new report suggests that carbon reduction targets could be met through efficiency, and there would be extra benefits for Michigan. Deborah Smith reports.

Deborah Smith, reporting

ACEEE report: http://aceee.org/research-report/e1401. Sara Hayes: 202-507-4043.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MI