A Winning Combination: Reducing Air Pollution AND Saving Money on Energy Bills


Senior Policy Counsel, Energy and Environment

By Shannon Baker-Branstetter on Thursday, September 25th, 2014

climate change

Electricity production generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States–nearly one third of total emissions.  The electricity and transportation sectors combined emit 60% of total emissions in the U.S.  We’re already seeing progress on the transportation: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued GHG emission and fuel economy standards for cars and light-duty trucks in 2012 that will cut emissions from 2025 vehicles in half compared to current vehicles and are expected to issue updated standards for medium and heavy duty trucks next year.


But there are still no emission limits for power plants.   Last year, EPA proposed greenhouse gas emission limits for new power plants and this year is working on proposed standards for existing power plants.

When most people think of emission limits on power plants (if they think of them at all), they think about filters, scrubbers, or cleaner chemical processes.  And indeed, these are some of the technologies that EPA and state agencies have required from power plants and industrial sources with the goal of reducing pollution and improving air quality under the Clean Air Act.

But for greenhouse gas emissions, EPA is proposing a different approach called the Clean Power Plan.  The Clean Power Plan looks beyond the physical power plant itself and instead views our entire electricity chain from generation to consumption as a system.  Recognizing the global nature and effects of carbon pollution, EPA’s proposal gives states a lot of flexibility in reducing emissions in the state or even in the region.

Under the proposed framework (comments due December 1), EPA sets state-specific targets for reducing carbon pollution, and states will have a 10 to 15 year window after the Clean Power Plan is final to plan for and achieve these reductions.  It’s up to states which strategies will work the best in their state or region.  The “building blocks” or options for reaching the target include:

  1. Make fossil fuel power plants more efficient (increase efficiency at the plant)
  2. Use low-emitting power sources more (dispatch cleaner resources more frequently)
  3. Use more zero- and low-emitting power sources (expand renewable capacity)
  4. Use electricity more efficiently (increase efficiency in our homes and businesses)

Benefits of the Clean Power Plan:

  • cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30 percent from 2005 levels (equivalent to powering over 1/2 the homes or 2/3 of cars and light trucks in the U.S.)
  • cut pollution that leads to soot and smog by over 25 percent in 2030
  • prevent:
    • 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths
    • 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children
    • 470,000 to 490,000 missed school and work days
  • reduce average electricity bills by 8% by 2030

Costs of the Clean Power Plan:

  • $4.3 billion to $7.5 billion per year in 2020
  • $7.3 billion to $8.8 billion per year in 2030

Overall, the EPA’s cost-benefit analysis shows a net benefit of  $22 to $46 billion by 2020 and $46 to $84 billion in 2030.  Even the air pollution health co-benefits alone are at least three times greater than the cost of compliance.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires investment, planning and a new way of thinking, but for states that commit to reducing overall energy use through energy efficiency and ramping up renewable energy capacity to fulfill future energy needs, the Clean Power Plan can save consumers money, improve air quality, and help stabilize the climate within the narrow limits that human beings have adapted to survive and thrive.


3 responses to “A Winning Combination: Reducing Air Pollution AND Saving Money on Energy Bills”

  1. Hydro Nano Gas could be the Answer for Neutralizing Carbon Fuel Emissions

    Hydro Infra Technologies (HIT), a Swedish clean tech company based in Stockholm, has developed an innovative patent pending approach for neutralizing carbon fuel emissions by generating a novel gas called Hydro Nano Gas (HNG).

    In spite of all the advancement happening in the energy sector, global economies are still dependent on fossil fuels as the interlinked chain of costs to completely replace the burning of fossil fuels with more clean and sustainable options is beyond the financial resources of even the richest nations.

    This in turn effects the climate change scenario which has been continuously increasing as more pollution and green house gases are created from burning fossil fuels on a daily basis.

    This dilemma requires a new approach with safe, cost effective and smart solutions; the solution in sight? Making any fossil fuel climate neutral – and this is exactly what HIT’s Hydro Nano Gas proposes to do.

    Water contains 2 basic elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen. These 2 basic elements can be split, divided and utilized. Splitting water (H2O) is a known science. But the energy costs to perform splitting outweigh the energy created from hydrogen when the Hydrogen is split from the water molecule H2O. This is where mainstream science usually closes the book on the subject.

    HIT took a different approach by postulating that it was not only possible but indefinitely sustainable to split water in an energy efficient way to extract a high yield of Hydrogen at very low cost.

    The process of creating HNG involves pulsing an range of low energy frequencies in a very specific sequence into water. The pulsing treatment effectively manipulates the molecules to line up in a certain structure which are then put through a splitting process. The result is HNG.

    Being exotic as it is, HNG displays some very different properties from normal hydrogen. For instance: HNG instantly neutralizes carbon fuel pollution emissions; HNG can be pressurized up to 2 bars; HNG combusts at a rate of 9000 meters per second while normal Hydrogen combusts at a rate 600 meters per second; oxygen values actually increase when HNG is inserted into a diesel flame; and finally, HNG acts like a vortex on fossil fuel emissions causing the flame to be pulled into the centre thus concentrating the heat and combustion properties.

    Injecting HNG into a combustion chamber produces several effects that increase the burn efficiency of the fuels. HNG gasification effectively burns unburned residue/cluster while completing the burn process quicker. The long term impact of using HNG in the burning of fossil fuels can provide the balanced solution for the on going economic-climate change debate.

    The new technology is also found to be effective in the treatment of polluted water; when HNG Nano bubbles are injected into polluted water, a microbe chain reaction is initiated that rapidly triggers and boosts the waters’ own organic repairing process. While further testing and validation are required, the discovery creates new potential in providing solutions to critical areas of global pollution.

    HIT is also developing a Smoke Eliminator for all sorts of plants and facilities. The process reduces the need for smoke analysis as it results in a clean wet scrubber technology where CO2 becomes a clean by-product ready to be reused.

    Further, a miniaturized version of the standard HNG reactor will help HIT achieve its goal of gassing 9,000 cubic meters of smoke volume per second. Using Nano technology, the reactor will see the beginning of a new technology phase for each HNG application, reports HIT.

    The HIT innovation story begins in the 1980’s when a small team of dedicated technicians, researchers and engineers came together to innovate real world solutions based on the theoretical research conducted by Nobel prize winner Professor Yuan Tse Lee. The goal was clear – to ‘crack’ the Hydrogen code.

    In late 2012, after years of on / off research and experimentation, they finally cracked the code and HNG was born.

    HIT was formed to spread their discoveries to the world as Information Technology via joint venture partners.

    HIT has also selected SGS – the worlds leading testing/validation and certification company – to be its’ permanent testing-validation protocol partner, providing certification that enables HIT to expand into global markets.

    Read more about HIT: http://www.hydroinfra.com

    Gratitude for your Attention,
    Nadine Sirota p– TY!

  2. Ralph Gustavson says:

    One problem we have is not recognizing the true COST from pollution. The price we pay at the gas pump or in our electric bills does not reflect all the ancillary costs, to our health , to the environment and others, that various forms of pollution cause. It is a win-win for us all if these proposed regulations reduce pollution AND reduce the costs to produce the energy we demand. (Go Solar)

  3. Ed & Vera Link says:

    Now let us do this. I cannot think of a reason not to unless maybe some people are in the pockets of the polluters. Thank You

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *