Friday, September 23, 2016

Backing Clean Power Plan Will Accelerate the Clean Energy Future - by Mindy Lubber — Forbes Sustainable Capitalism Blog

A wind turbine twirls near a giant rooftop greenhouse owned by New York-based Gotham Greens on Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, in Chicago. The greenhouse, which sits atop a factory where Method brand soap is made, opened in October and is 75,000 square feet. It is one of the largest rooftop greenhouses in the world — and its owners claim it is the biggest of all. (Credit: AP Photo/Martha Irvine) Click to Enlarge.
While legal experts are debating EPA’s Clean Power Plan in Washington next Tuesday, the U.S. business community is galloping ahead on the clean energy future.

From General Motors to Bank of America to Apple, dozens of iconic companies are now fully committed to running their companies with 100 percent renewable energy.  The writing is on the wall: clean energy has arrived and fossil fuel power generation is fading.  And a favorable Clean Power Plan ruling will hasten this transition, benefiting both our global climate, which is over-heating due to carbon pollution, and businesses that want policy certainty in dealing with this threat. By enacting this rule, all 50 states will be on the path to lowering the carbon footprint of their electric power plants.

Even with today’s patchwork quilt of energy policies, wind and solar power are becoming mainstream.  More than 10,000 megawatts of new capacity was added in 2015 alone, more than two-thirds of the total renewable energy generating capacity installed last year in the United States.

The green power boom is being fueled by a combination of factors, the biggest being plummeting renewable energy costs that have made wind and solar energy cost-competitive with fossil fuel power plants in many states.  A multi-year extension of federal tax credits for wind and solar power has helped, too.

States and regions that have enacted their own carbon-reducing policies are seeing the biggest benefits.

Nine states in the Northeast, for example, have saved billions of dollars in their energy bills by encouraging more aggressive energy efficiency programs through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, a cap-and-trade effort that has helped reduce power plant emissions by 30 percent since the program began in 2008.  The nine Northeast governors are discussing plans to extend and strengthen RGGI’s goals beyond 2020, and 90-plus companies and investors are encouraging them to do so.

Read more at Backing Clean Power Plan Will Accelerate the Clean Energy Future

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