Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Scientists:  EPA Underestimating Renewables Potential

A wind farm in central Illinois. (Credit: Chauncey Davis/flickr) Click to enlarge.
Generating electricity in the U.S. can be a lot greener and more climate-friendly than the Obama administration expects it to be through 2030, researchers at the Union of Concerned Scientists said in an analysis released Tuesday.

The report says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set each state’s renewable energy production targets far too low in the proposed Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal-fired power plants.  The plan’s goal is to reduce CO2 emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), a science advocacy organization, says states can reduce emissions even more, by an average of 40 percent by 2030, mainly through the expansion of renewable power production far beyond what the Obama administration may expect from each state.
In the plan, the EPA estimated that 12 percent of electrical power generation nationwide could come from renewables in 2030.  UCS scientists think that percentage can jump to 23 percent over the next 16 years, according to the report.
UCS is basing its estimates on the U.S. Energy Information Administration calculations for the rate of growth renewables have seen across the country between 2009 and 2013.  That data shows that states increased the share of their electricity sales from renewables by an average of 1 percent each year because of new wind farms and solar installations being built.

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