The recently proposed Clean Energy Plan laid out by the Obama Administration aims to decrease by a third the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that result from energy production. However, rather than being a one size fits all approach for the nation, the Administration has given states the ability to develop their own unique approach to meeting emission targets.
Unlike many other sectors of the economy that are regulated, energy production and distribution isn’t always confined by state boundaries. It is not uncommon for a utility to power specific regions that traverse one or more states. This unique feature of energy generation provides an opportunity for local, regional and state officials to work with their neighbors, when possible, to facilitate interstate and regional emission reduction plans.
The benefits of this may be felt by residents, producers of energy, and municipal leaders. Citizens may be given access to reduced energy rates from across state lines, where clean energy production may be cheaper. Energy producers can optimize production and look outside of their state for customers, thereby increasing profits and attracting investors. And municipal officials can network with neighboring governments to better the lives of their residents.
The Clean Energy Plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power-plants. However, it is now presenting local and state governments with the opportunity to engage in regional partnerships: providing a template for greater collaborative action in the future. By joining a community of leaders, greater climate solutions can be realized, and more communities can get on the Path to Positive!
As soon as President Obama’s Clean Power Plan enters into the Federal Register, states will have up to two years to craft their plans to meet the EPA’s regulations for carbon pollution from power plants. There are a lot of ways states can go about meeting the targets set for them by the EPA — one of the real selling points of the plan, from the EPA’s perspective, is its flexibility in allowing states to craft individual approaches that work best with their unique energy infrastructure.
But power structures in the United States aren’t just set up on a state-by-state basis. Across the country, different regions handle their energy needs in different ways, depending on the utilities that operate in that region and the resources available. Sometimes, those regions band together to create markets for energy — like the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the Northeast and the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) between California, Quebec, and British Columbia.
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