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renewable energy

In a series of recent briefs on the consumer costs of low-emissions futures, Synapse demonstrates that a Clean Energy Future scenario that exceeds the emissions targets of EPA’s Clean Power Plan can also lower electricity bills nationwide. The idea that investing heavily in clean energy and energy efficiency programs will save households money may be surprising to some, but in the third and final brief in the series, released today, Synapse discusses the logic behind why this is the case and why—if it’s so appealing—states haven’t already embarked on similar trajectories.

New federal environmental regulations call for substantial emissions reductions from U.S. power grids. For a system designed for fossil fuel resources, this will mean transforming the grid to accommodate large increases in renewable energy resources. Opponents of such regulations claim that the integration of these resources will impose high costs on the system, in particular those related to maintaining reliability standards. A new Synapse study finds that these claims are overblown, and that the costs to integrate increased amounts of wind and solar energy are minimal. Actual costs found by integration studies across the country are on the order of half a cent per kilowatt-hour of energy the resource produces, according to the Synapse literature review.

On August 3, EPA released the final version of its Clean Power Plan. This rule establishes emission reduction guidelines for existing power plants aimed at reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 32 percent below 2005 levels. The final rule includes some important difference from the version proposed last year. As public agencies, interest groups, and electric-sector experts scramble in the next days and weeks to first absorb and then analyze the rule, we offer our early assessment of the top eight things planners and advocates should know about the final Clean Power Plan, and compare each point to the proposed rule.

Today the EPA released AVERT (Avoided Emissions and Generation Tool), an open-access tool built by Synapse to allow states and other stakeholders to estimate the hourly emissions benefits of energy efficiency and renewable energy policies and programs. AVERT allows non-expert users to measure emissions of CO2, SO2, and NOX mitigated by state or multi-state programs.

AVERT

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