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The health and economic costs if USA’s Clean Power Plan is repealed

Flag-USAClean Power Plan Repeal Would Cost America $600 Billion, Cause 120,000 Premature Deaths, Jeffrey Rissman, The Trump administration has prioritized repealing the Clean Power Plan (CPP), a set of rules by the U.S. EPA aimed at limiting pollution from power plants. New analysis shows that repealing the rule would cost the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars, add more than a billion tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and cause more than 100,000 premature deaths due to inhaled particulate pollution.
Energy Innovation utilized the Energy Policy Simulator (EPS) to analyze the effects of repealing the CPP. The EPS is an open-source computer model developed to estimate the economic and emissions effects of various combinations of energy and environmental policies using non-partisan, published data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), U.S. EPA, Argonne National Laboratory, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics, among others. The EPS has been peer reviewed by experts at MIT, Stanford University, Argonne National Laboratory, Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. It is freely available for public use through a user-friendly web interface or by downloading the full model and input dataset.
Our analysis compared a business-as-usual (BAU) scenario (based on existing policies as of mid-to-late 2016, not including the Clean Power Plan) to a scenario that includes a set of policies that narrowly achieve the Clean Power Plan’s mass-based emissions targets. Three important notes:
  • First, the EPS works at national scale, so policies are represented as nationwide averages; that is, without individually modeling U.S. states.
  • Second, a variety of different policies might be used to achieve the CPP targets. We analyzed a mixed package representative of how the EPA expects states to achieve their targets.
  • Third, the EPS calculates results through 2050, but the CPP targets only extend through 2030. The policy package we use to represent the CPP includes continued policy improvement through 2050 at the same rate as in earlier years (that is, policies strengthen by the same amount each year from 2017 to 2050), rather than CPP policies becoming frozen at their 2030 levels.
 We find that repealing the CPP would result in an increase of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions of more than 500 million metric tons (MMT) in 2030 and 1200 MMT in 2050, contributing to global warming and severe weather events, such as hurricanes, floods and droughts.

Nearly $600 Billion in Economy-Wide Costs

Cumulative net costs to the U.S. economy (in increased capital, fuel, and operations and maintenance (O&M) expenditures) would exceed $100 billion by 2030 and would reach nearly $600 billion by 2050.

It may seem ironic that removing regulations can result in increased costs to the economy, but regulations can help to overcome market barriers and similar problems that prevent certain economically-ideal outcomes from being achieved in a free market (for instance, under-investment in energy efficiency technologies).

120,000 New Premature Deaths

Although the CPP’s focus is on reducing carbon emissions, the same policies also reduce particulate pollution, which is responsible for thousands of heart attacks and respiratory diseases each year. Repealing the CPP would increase particulate emissions, causing more than 40,000 premature deaths in 2030 and more than 120,000 premature deaths in 2050.

Far More New Coal Capacity, Far Less New Renewables Capacity

Without the CPP, the U.S. electric grid would feature a larger capacity of coal power plants, while the capacity of wind and solar on the system would be smaller, as shown in the following table. [on original]

This finding is echoed by a new forecast from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which predicts that without CPP implementation, coal will become America’s leading source of electricity generation by 2019.

This slow-down in the transition to clean energy would cost the U.S. technological leadership in the rapidly-growing solar and wind industries and would cost the U.S. many jobs.  Even today, when wind makes up 6.6 percent and solar 1.8 percent of total U.S. installed capacity, the solar industry employs 374,000 people and wind industry 101,000 workers, roughly two and a half times the 187,000 combined workers in the coal, natural gas and oil industries.

 The stellar contribution of renewables to the U.S. economy was recently highlighted as an “American success story” by a group of 20 Republican and Democratic governors who urged Trump to support renewables.

Clean Power Plan Repeal A Terrible Mistake For America

Repealing the Clean Power Plan would be a terrible mistake.  A repeal would increase costs to the U.S. economy by hundreds of billions of dollars, cut years off the lives of tens of thousands of Americans and sacrifice U.S. technological leadership and job creation.  For the future prosperity and strength of the country, the CPP should be preserved, and its targets should continue to strengthen through 2050 and beyond.


February 27, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, health, renewable, USA

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