The Western United States is increasingly experiencing extended droughts, bigger and more dangerous wildfires, and decreasing snowpack due to climate change. Carbon pollution is the biggest driver of climate change. We owe it to our children and grandchildren to quickly reduce carbon emissions. And this month President Obama took the biggest step yet to combat climate change by finalizing America’s Clean Power Plan, which sets the first-ever carbon pollution standards for power plants. The Clean Power Plan provides an important opportunity for the entire country to limit harmful carbon pollution so we can clean our air and take meaningful steps that protect the health of American families, boost our economy with clean energy generation, and save families money on their energy bills. Western Resource Advocates has been working to support and help key western states take action to implement this historic new plan.
When we got ahold of the 1,500 page final rule, we immediately got to work evaluating how our states are positioned to implement the new plan. For Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico we analyzed:
- The estimated impact on carbon emissions of the major utilities’ planned retirements of coal plants;
- Projected renewable energy acquisitions; and
- Projected energy efficiency savings.
Our technical analysis reveals good news – Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico are well positioned to comply with the final Clean Power Plan standards. States can use a variety of measures – including measures such as energy efficiency – to meet the Clean Power Plan targets. Our analysis concluded that:
- Colorado is currently on track to achieve over 85% of the reductions required to meet the Clean Power Plan’s interim target, and approximately 75% of the emissions reductions required by the final target. To view fact sheet, click here
- Nevada is currently on track to achieve 100% of the emissions reductions required by the Clean Power Plan’s final 2030 target. To view fact sheet, click here
- New Mexico will have to cut its carbon-emissions rate from power plants by 28% by 2030.
Western Resource Advocates has also developed a compliance program option – the Carbon Reduction Credit Program – that would allow states and utilities to comply with EPA’s rule, allocate the additional emissions reductions fairly and equitably, and, because it is a market- and credit-based trading program, enable the most cost-effective emissions reductions in a state.
Western Resource Advocates will continue leading efforts to support our key western states complying with EPA’s Clean Power Plan. We will advance complementary state-based clean energy policies. We are deeply committed to ensuring the region is on a course to reduce carbon pollution and protect our Western rivers, forests, landscapes, and the communities that depend on them.