Virginia Can Surpass its Clean Power Plan Requirements with a 43 Percent Carbon Emissions Reduction by 2030
WASHINGTON (OCTOBER 7, 2015)– New analysis from World Resources Institute shows that Virginia is in a strong position to meet or exceed its emissions target under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan for reducing emissions from the power sector.
The WRI analysis shows that if Virginia achieves its current goals to improve efficiency and increase use of renewable energy while also making more efficient use of existing natural gas plants, the state can decrease carbon emissions from Virginia’s power sector by 43 percent below 2012 levels by 2030 – well beyond the state’s mass-based target of 23 percent reductions required under the Clean Power Plan.
“Virginia has the opportunity to more than meet the Clean Power Plan targets,” said Sam Adams, director, U.S. Climate Initiative, WRI, “And by taking full advantage of energy efficiency measures, Virginia’s electric consumers could reduce household energy bills that are currently among the ten highest in the nation.”
The following are ways that Virginia can meet and exceed its Clean Power Plan emissions reduction target, according to WRI’s research:
Energy Efficiency: Achieve Virginia’s existing goal to reduce electricity consumption by 10 percent below 2006 levels by 2022. This can be accomplished by implementing energy efficiency measures like weatherization, appliance rebates, and energy audits with residents and businesses. These efficiency increases alone can get Virginia almost 80 percent of the reductions needed under the Clean Power Plan.
Renewable Energy: Achieve Virginia’s goal under its voluntary renewable portfolio standard to have 15 percent of sold electricity from renewable sources by 2025 (relative to 2007 sales). Combined with energy efficiency measures, these actions would reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector by 27 below 2012 levels by 2030.
Natural Gas: Run Virginia’s most efficient natural gas plants – combined cycle (NGCC) units – at 75 percent of their capacity. Together with the energy efficiency and renewable energy actions referenced above, this action would reduce Virginia power sector CO2 emissions by 43 percent below 2012 levels by 2030.
“Since Virginia has already done much of what it needs to do to comply with the Clean Power Plan, the Commonwealth can turn the new rules to its economic advantage by taking the lead in energy efficiency, renewables, and low carbon energy sources,” said William Shobe, director, Center for Economic and Policy Studies, Weldon Cooper Center for Public Policy, University of Virginia. “Virginia has a lot to gain from reductions in global carbon emissions. An efficient compliance plan could play to Virginia’s strengths even as it helps solve an increasingly serious global problem.”