(AUSTIN – October 13, 2015) As a result of market trends already underway and an abundance of clean energy resources in Texas, compliance with Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan is well within the Lone Star State’s reach, according to a new report released today from Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
The report, Well Within Reach: How Texas Can Comply with and Benefit from the Clean Power Plan, shows that “business as usual” gets Texas 88 percent of the way toward compliance with the plan. Increased efficiency and greater use of cleaner power sources, like natural gas, wind, and solar, could carry the state across the finish line. Like every state in the U.S., Texas must decide soon how it will respond to the federal standards. This report can serve as a tool for leaders to put in place a successful strategy – rather than sue the federal government – that best utilizes Texas’ abundant natural resources and meets Texans’ growing electricity and water needs.
“Texas is far along on a path to meeting new pollution standards, which will save water and lives, all while growing our state’s economy,” said EDF’s Texas clean energy director, John Hall. “Texas is already the leading producer of natural gas, combined heat and power, and wind energy in the U.S., and these new national standards can help us add solar and energy efficiency to that list. We have more abundant clean energy resources than any other state in the U.S. Let’s innovate – not litigate – to take full advantage of the multi-trillion dollar clean energy economy.”
The report explains how Texas’ electricity sector has been moving toward cleaner power over the past decade, largely driven by deregulation of the electricity market, the construction of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone transmission lines, and technological progress within the clean energy sector. It breaks down Texas’ current energy mix and provides actions the state can take to fill the gap toward compliance, starting with retaining our existing electric market structure and related energy policies.
The report recommends steps Texas can take to meet the Clean Power Plan standards based on forecasts from Texas’ grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, and using an industry-vetted model from MJ Bradley & Associates. Results show the Clean Power Plan will serve to accelerate the existing trends toward a clean energy economy, benefitting Texas’ businesses and communities.
Moreover, Texas can truly seize the clean energy market momentum and realize economic benefits by going beyond compliance. The state could leverage excess energy resources to help other states meet their Clean Power Plan obligations, through exporting excess renewable energy or selling credits for example, thus creating local jobs and spurring the economy here at home.
The report includes:
- Analyses of how different generation mix scenarios contribute toward EPA’s target;
- Projections of massive potential water savings resulting from the transition to cleaner energy; and
- Recommendations for specific ways state policymakers can work toward meeting and capitalizing on Clean Power Plan goals.
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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law, and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and our Texas Clean Air Matters blog.