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Despite Clean Power Plan Court Case Virginia and Colorado Moving Ahead to Seize Low-Carbon Opportunity

Posted by Alli Gold Roberts at Sep 29, 2016 12:00 AM |
On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard formal legal arguments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants. But even as the legal impasse continues, many utilities and states are forging ahead with efforts to reduce carbon emissions—and seizing the economic benefits that follow.
by Alli Gold Roberts, Manager, Policy Program Ceres Posted on Sep 29, 2016

On Tuesday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard formal legal arguments on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon pollution from the nation’s power plants. But even as the legal impasse continues, many utilities and states are forging ahead with efforts to reduce carbon emissions—and seizing the economic benefits that follow.

In fact, some states are independently forging ahead to capture the economic benefits of a low-carbon economy. Earlier this summer, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe issued an executive order calling for concrete steps to reduce carbon pollution.

“Many of the largest employers on the globe have made it clear that the availability of clean energy is a key part of their decision making process when it comes to new jobs and investments,” the governor said. “To continue attracting competitive and innovative businesses, we need to invest in a 21st century energy policy to ensure our grid is reliable, affordable and clean.”

McAuliffe’s executive order responds to strong calls from businesses and investors to embrace policies that will mitigate climate change. They can also help states attract new businesses, industries and good-paying jobs.

Additionally in Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper is rumored to be drafting an executive order to cut the state’s carbon emissions by 35 percent by 2030. Colorado has already seen major benefits from its renewable energy standard, which has helped catalyze more than three gigawatts of wind and solar energy to date. State officials say they will move forward with new carbon reduction efforts regardless of the outcome of the Clean Power Plan.

Today, two members of the Ceres Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) coalition—Aspen Skiing Company and New Belgium Brewing—are hosting a dialogue with Colorado lawmakers at New Belgium’s Fort Collins headquarters. Both businesses will discuss why they are supporting the Clean Power Plan and other state clean energy policies that will accelerate the transition to a low-carbon future. 

Meanwhile, targets laid out in the Clean Power Plan are becoming increasingly achievable as electric utilities begin to cut carbon emissions, according to an analysis from M.J. Bradley & Associates and the Environmental Defense Fund. The report found that 21 of the 27 states trying to block the Clean Power Plan are actually on track to meet their 2024 targets. These states will be able to meet their targets with their existing power fleets and investments already in the pipeline.

The bottom line is this: states have a significant opportunity to invest in a low-carbon energy future and attract new businesses, investments and jobs.

The competition is on—and forward-looking states will surely be the winners.

Meet the Expert

Alli Gold Roberts

Alli manages state level policy outreach on climate and energy policies with investors and businesses. Alli works on the Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) policy project and is a member of the Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP) project team.

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