Last month the US Government rolled out a plan to cut pollution from power plants by 30 percent by 2030, focusing on plants that contribute to global warming. The plan will regulate national limits on carbon dioxide, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, which is the second largest contributor to global warming on the planet. An article about the new plan ran in the Edmonton Journal.
It took years for the Obama administration to challenge the country’s power plants, despite the regulations for greenhouse gases that were put into place in 2009 under the 1970 Clean Air Act. They were supposed to set greenhouse gas standards for the power plants in May of 2012. The issue was more-or-less dormant during Obama’s election campaign, but was put on the fast track this summer when he announced the new climate action plan. Some are skeptical and fear this delay will create major economic cost.
Coal currently produces less than 40 percent of electricity in the US, the rest is supplied by natural gas and renewable sources like wind and solar. EPA data shows the nation’s power plants have already reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 13 percent since 2005. They plan to have emissions cut by 26 percent by 2020.
“By using 2005 as the baseline year they’ve probably chosen the year with the worst emissions,” commented Chris Vilcsak, President and CEO of Solution 105. “This easily allows current reductions, reported to be 13%, to be counted. I think the last 4% will take 10 years to achieve between 2020 and 2030.”
Each state will get options in order to meet targets based on how they get their electricity and how much carbon dioxide is emitted. Some will be allowed to emit or and other less, with the hope to reach the goal of a 30 percent reduction nationwide. The 30 percent reduction would prevent about 430 million tons of carbon dioxide from reaching the atmosphere. That number is an estimate using the figures power plants have already reduced since 2005.
How will they do it? The US will see a steady shift towards renewable energy, but that doesn’t mean the days of power plants are over. With new technology, natural gas is becoming an increasingly cleaner option. The US may see a huge expansion in its natural gas network, creating jobs in supply-chain sectors such as the titanium sector. With the possibility of so many new natural gas-fired power stations coming online, energy companies may be left looking for titanium tubing, and huge quantities of it. Titanium tubing is vital to a clean gas supply network, being lightweight and less energy-intensive to transport, and corrosion-resistant, meaning the gas remains pure and therefore cleaner.
Coal-fired power plants will have to reduce the frequency at which they supply power to the grid, investing in more renewable, low-carbon sources of energy. They also hope to improve programs that will make homes and businesses more energy-efficient, reducing the demand for electricity overall. Hopefully, these power plants will help businesses to lower their environmental footprint. As businesses do use so much energy and electricity, they should be prioritizing ghg management whether they are a small business or a large corporation. It’s so important that these coal-fired power plants help businesses to use less electricity, creating fewer greenhouse gases and lowering businesses’ carbon footprint. Of course, there are businesses trying to raise awareness for this issue, such as Cool Effect. They are reducing carbon emissions, which is helping to protect the environment. Other businesses should consider following in their footsteps to try and save the planet. Greenhouse gases can really impact the environment, so it’s vital that more businesses learn how to reduce their emissions.
“The target of reducing emissions 26% by 2020 is pretty aggressive,” said Vilcsak. “Still, a new environmental policy and direction has finally been announced and that’s a step in the right direction. Overall, I give the plan an A-”