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A Handbook for States: Incorporating Renewable Energy into State Compliance Plans for EPA's Clean Power Plan

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Foreword

This document was prepared by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and is intended as a starting point for states that are considering renewable energy as a compliance tool for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulation of carbon emissions from existing power plants (Clean Power Plan) under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA). This handbook will be updated after EPA releases the final rule in the summer of 2015.

As you know, state governments will play a critical role with EPA in reducing carbon emissions to meet the standards set forth in the rule. EPA has proposed that states can meet those standards using electric system-wide programs and policies that would allow wind and solar energy, and other resources, to serve as compliance tools for states.

The goal of this handbook is to help states understand how they can use renewable energy emission reduction strategies in their section 111(d) compliance plans as part of an overall balanced energy portfolio. The framework presented herein should reduce the barriers for state agencies to incorporate renewable energy policies and programs into state plans by clarifying and summarizing existing EPA guidance on the matter. With the information presented in this document, states should be in a better position to seek credit for renewable energy in their state plans.

This handbook provides detailed information on:

  • What the Clean Power Plan says about using renewable energy as a compliance tool.
  • Calculating carbon reductions from renewable energy; existing emissions reductions on a state-by-state basis; and deployment of renewable energy and the cost profile for doing so.
  • The energy and emission reduction impacts of renewable energy policies and programs as well as the health and environmental benefits.
  • A list of steps that states can use to draft their own compliance plans incorporating renewable energy.
  • Guidance on addressing questions related to renewable energy at each step.
  • A sample framework of a compliance plan using renewable energy to meet carbon emission targets.
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