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Report: TN Businesses, Cities Could Win with Clean Power

Implementing the Clean Power Plan could save cities such as Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville money they could then use to fund programs supporting education and transportation. (Thomas Hawk/flickr.com)
Implementing the Clean Power Plan could save cities such as Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville money they could then use to fund programs supporting education and transportation. (Thomas Hawk/flickr.com)
August 4, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It isn't just individual consumers who could benefit from President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan.

Cities such as Nashville, and businesses around the Volunteer State, also could see substantial savings, according to a study released this week by the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Researchers found that nationwide, the country could see savings or more than $11 billion dollars by 2030, compared with doing nothing.

Marilyn Brown, the study’s lead author, says while city skylines such as those seen in Nashville, Memphis and Knoxville are easy on the eyes, they're not on the environment.

"I like to think about the vision of city skylines as a symbol of prosperity, but in reality these same buildings are some of the largest energy consumers and therefore carbon pollution sources in the nation," she states.

While the Clean Power Plan includes policies to help grow renewable energy, cities such as Nashville also are taking the initiative before the plan goes into effect.

Earlier this summer, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry formed the
Livable Nashville Committee to develop an updated list of goals and recommendations for environmental sustainability.

Dodd Galbreath, chairman of the Climate and Energy subcommittee Barry's Livable Nashville Initiative, says as policy makers discover the savings the Clean Power Plan can offer, they have an obligation to pursue them on behalf of the people they serve.

"The taxpayers deserve the best use of their tax dollars, and every dollar that we spend on energy that we don't have to spend is a dollar taken away from education, meeting our modern transit needs. It's clear that energy efficiency is a beneficial investment," he states.

Brown says with studies such as hers predicting the cost savings that renewable energy can offer, the Clean Power Plan has the potential to address more than just environmental concerns.

"Particularly in the South – you know, we have more than our fair share of poverty here – to be able to reduce electricity bills is very meaningful,” she stresses. “And now for businesses, of course, so important for competitiveness."

This week marks one year since the Environmental Protection Agency released its Clean Power Plan.

Although the U.S. Supreme Court has delayed its implementation pending litigation, many states and municipalities already have started adopting some of its policies.



Mona Shand, Public News Service - TN