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Study: Clean Power Plan Could Boost Colorado Businesses

Research shows industrial customers of electric utilities save money if the utilities follow the policies driven by the Clean Power Plan rather than business as usual. (Pixabay)
Research shows industrial customers of electric utilities save money if the utilities follow the policies driven by the Clean Power Plan rather than business as usual. (Pixabay)
September 27, 2016

DENVER – As the merits of the EPA's Clean Power Plan are argued at an appeals court today, recent data is adding more backbone to arguments in favor of the rules to reduce carbon emissions. Separate reports from Georgia Tech and the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency show how the implementation of the Clean Power Plan can boost competitiveness for manufacturers in Colorado and other states.

Susan Nedell, the Rocky Mountain advocate with Environmental Entrepreneurs' Colorado office said industrial customers of electric utilities would save more money under the Clean Power Plan than business as usual.

"Every dollar you invest in energy efficiency reaps $3 in savings," she said. "So actually those policies should lower utility rates, and not raise them."

According to the Alliance report, industrial energy efficiency can save businesses nearly $300 billion from avoided electricity purchases. And the Georgia Tech analysis also found energy savings for industry under Clean Power Plan compliance nearly $40 billion annually.

Nedell said Colorado has experienced substantial job growth in renewables since the state implemented clean energy policies, and ranked in the top ten nationally through all quarters of 2015.

"When fossil-fuel prices fall, the fossil fuel industry tends to lay off their workers, whereas when renewable-energy prices fall, they tend to hire more," Nedell explained. "And it creates a more diverse economy and a more stable economy."

The executive director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, Jennifer Kefer, said savings from industrial energy efficiency can be invested in plant modernization, product improvements or job creation. She contends the reports dispel the myth that clean energy and manufacturing competitiveness have to be in conflict.

"By investing in industrial efficiency, we can reduce emissions while simultaneously slashing utility bills, creating jobs and strengthening the industrial sector," Kefer explained. "And those benefits are really spelled out in the findings of our report pretty dramatically."

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO