By Mary Kuhlman
The Clean Power Plan is expected to be finalized soon, and two new reports refute opponents' claims that it will increase electric bills for consumers in Indiana and around the nation.
Synapse Energy Economics developed a scenario that includes investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and found the average Indiana household participating in energy-efficiency programs can save $17 on its electric bills in 2030. According to report co-author Elizabeth Stanton, principal economist at Synapse, there will be far less carbon emissions.
"Also, it not only achieves the requirements of the EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan," she said, "but it actually exceeds them in terms of having even greater emissions reduction."
Bills also would be lower under a clean-power path model developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology. Its report showed that reduced emissions and electricity costs would result from implementation of renewable and energy-efficiency policies, along with a modest price on carbon.
Critics claim the standards will jeopardize jobs in the coal industry, but a public policy professor at Georgia Tech, Marilyn Brown, said the institute's findings also reveal a clean-power pathway would be good for both the economy and for job creation.
"You spend a lot more on labor when it comes to energy efficiency and renewable systems than you do in the generation of electricity for large power plants," she said, "whether it's nuclear, coal or natural gas."
Under the Clean Power Plan, Indiana is expected to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent by 2030. The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to finalize the measure this summer.