Since President Trump’s inauguration in January, the energy industry has awaited a series of executive orders to review the Clean Power Plan and loosen restrictions on coal production. Those orders are expected to take place this week.
The President will most likely begin the process of eliminating the Clean Power Plan and ending a moratorium on coal mining on federal lands. White House officials told Reuters that rescinding the federal coal-leasing moratorium is part of an upcoming executive order.
But repealing the Clean Power Plan would have significant impacts on the United States’ economy and the health of its citizens, according to new analysis from Energy Innovation, a clean energy think tank. A model by Energy Innovation’s Jeffrey Rissman and published by Forbes outlines some of the possible consequences of the United States’ abandonment of this climate regulation.
“Repealing the Clean Power Plan would be a terrible mistake,” writes Rissman. “A repeal would increase costs to the US economy by hundreds of billions of dollars, cut years off the lives of tens of thousands of Americans, and sacrifice US technological leadership and job creation.”
Rissman’s statement is based on models created by an open-source tool called the Energy Policy Simulator. The simulator is used to estimate the long-term effects of energy policies. Its models have been peer reviewed by scientists at MIT, Stanford University, Berkeley National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
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The model Rissman produced indicates that repeal could have significant impacts on the US economy and the health of its citizens. In fact, by 2030 the study shows that the repeal would lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions of more than 500 million metric tons. By 2050, the amount rises to 1,200 million metric tons. “Repealing the CPP would increase particulate emissions, causing more than 40,000 premature deaths in 2030 and more than 120,000 premature deaths in 2050,” Rissman explains.
Beyond health, the model predicts that repealing the Clean Power Plan would also have a significant effect on the US generation mix, allowing more coal to serve as grid support. In fact, it estimates that the grid would feature about 246 GW of coal capacity in 2030, 55% more than it forecasts to be in service in 2030 if the Clean Power Plan were kept in place.
Repeal would also limit the amount of wind and solar integration, according to the model. Wind capacity in 2030 would be about 35% lower than with the climate rules and solar is estimated to be 23% lower than it would be under the Clean Power Plan.
Although a variety of factors will affect the future generation mix and carbon emission levels, it will be interesting to observe whether the US follows the model’s estimates. What are your predictions?