Sunday, 2 August 2015

Obama's clean energy plan expected to boost renewables

After a year of consultations and over 4 million public comments, President Obama's Clean Power Plan will be finalised early next week.

The strategy will outline restrictions on CO2 from electricity that individual states will have to implement.

The EPA said that emissions from electricity generation need to be reduced by 30% of the 2005 level by 2030.

At that time the EPA said that individual states need to get their plans in place by 2016 and they were to become operational by 2020.

But after consultations with industry, states and 4.3 million comments from the public, the EPA is likely to extend the deadline for the start of carbon cutting until 2022.

The thinking appears to be that a shorter deadline makes it more likely that states will switch from coal to natural gas, as they have been doing in recent years.
It's expected that there will be increased support for solar, wind and other renewable sources

A longer timeframe supports the view that energy efficiency, renewables and emissions trading between states could all play a greater role, and result in bigger carbon savings over time.

Experts believe that the delay will come with some sweeteners to encourage the take-up of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.

International observers are keenly awaiting details of the plan, to see how it might affect UN-sponsored talks on climate change, that are due to agree a new global treaty later this year.

The US has put forward a proposal to cut its overall emissions by 26-28% of their 2005 levels by 2025. The widespread acceptance and implementation of the electricity plan is vital to achieving this target.

Follow Matt on Twitter @mattmcgrathbbc.

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