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Study: Clean Power Plan Means Millions for Business

Buildings account for almost 75 percent of New York City carbon emissions. (Anthony Quintano/
Buildings account for almost 75 percent of New York City carbon emissions. (Anthony Quintano/
August 4, 2016

NEW YORK — The Obama administration's Clean Power Plan was finalized one year ago, and a new report said that the plan could provide big benefits for businesses.

Commercial customers are responsible for nearly one-third of all electricity-related carbon pollution nationwide. According to Dr. Marilyn Brown, professor at Georgia Tech's School of Public Policy, implementing the Clean Power Plan could mean significant savings by 2030.

"Bills for electricity could be reduced by 6.7 percent if states were to include energy efficiency as a strong component of their approach,“ Brown said.

In New York state, that translates to a savings of $138 million a year on electric bills for commercial building owners and occupants.

The state is committed to meeting or exceeding the goals of the Clean Power Plan. Peter Iwanonwicz, executive director at Environmental Advocates of New York, said the state will be spending upwards of $5 billion over the next 10 years on energy-efficiency programs.

"We're really well positioned to drive down the amount of electricity and overall energy that our building sectors and our residential sectors consume,” Iwanowicz said. "And that's going to be a big benefit down the line."

He said every dollar invested in energy efficiency produces $3 of economic benefit.

Some states are planning to build new power plants to meet projected needs. But according to Brown, by upgrading to new heating and cooling systems and LED lighting to increase efficiency in buildings, the city could significantly reduce or eliminate the need to generate more power.

"It can meet energy service requirements with these more efficient products and not lock in a next generation of high-priced power plants,” Brown said.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court stayed enforcement of the Clean Power Plan while it faces legal challenges, New York is actively pursuing a clean energy future.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY