When the Clean Power Plan was first introduced by the White House in 2015, it garnered the usual reaction from the fossil fuel industry – the plan was too ambitious, onerous and costly. However, when one of the largest grid operators in the country decided to take a deeper look at the plan, it came to the opposite conclusion.
PJM Interconnection, a grid operator covering much of the densely-populated northeastern region of the country released a comprehensive report on the various pathways to comply with the CPP. Their conclusion: in every compliance scenario, meeting the goals of the CPP will actually increase grid efficiency, maintain reliability, and have a very modest effect on prices.
Some of the other key findings in the PJM study found that in each of the seven compliance pathway they studied:
- the CO2 emissions reduction goals of the Clean Power Plan can be achieved;
- the reliability of the grid is maintained;
- total grid congestion is reduced; and
- the costs of compliance would be between 1.1 percent and 3.3 percent.
Additionally, they found that developing a regional compliance plan would be less costly than individual states within the region developing their own compliance plans.
Compared to the knee-jerk doom and gloom reaction from others in the energy and utility industry, this measured, practical review conducted by PJM is a welcome reality check. Other electricity suppliers would benefit from studying the PJM report’s overall findings — that the goals of the CPP can be met without any disruptions to the electrical grid or undue price hikes that hurt consumers.
Consumers Union supports the goals of the Clean Power Plan, particularly its emphasis on energy efficiency to reduce electrical demand and lower costs for consumers. By meeting the goals the CPP, according to recent analyses, consumers can expect nearly $161 a year on their energy bills in 2030, saving consumers approximately $250 billion in the 15 years that follow.
Learn how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home and to find programs offered by your state, check out the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.