Affordable Solar’s Place in the Clean Power Plan
Yesterday, the U.S. took an historic step toward fighting climate change by releasing a final Clean Power Plan, the first-ever EPA standards on carbon pollution from power plants.
The Plan aims to cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 32 percent from 2005 levels. It sets state-specific carbon reduction targets and gives each state the flexibility to develop their own plans for meeting those goals. States will submit their compliance plans next year—and thanks to massive recent cost declines, affordable solar is ready to be a major part of those plans for building a modern clean energy system.
Utilities from Idaho to Georgia are already signing contracts for solar power below the price of the old fossil alternative. And we’re getting a whole lot more than low-cost power from that solar investment. By harnessing homegrown sunshine, we are increasing resiliency, empowering consumers, creating local jobs, and improving health and well-being in our communities.
For too long, emissions from polluting power plants have been a quiet scourge across the country, causing illness and taking lives—especially among our nation’s most vulnerable. Now those same communities are on the front lines of climate change impacts caused by those fossil polluters. Pre-existing vulnerabilities mean that low-income neighborhoods and families of color suffer most from devastating natural disasters, as we saw with Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of the predominantly African-American Lower Ninth Ward. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the storm, and the Lower Ninth still hasn’t recovered.
Today, with affordable clean power, we have the opportunity to build an equitable energy system that gives our children and elderly cleaner air to breathe and allows everyone to thrive. Let’s plan for that.