On June 2, 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) unveiled a proposed plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30% by 2030, when compared to 2005 emissions. Regulators want to cut carbon dioxide because many scientists have tied it to climate change. The proposal, titled the Clean Power Plan, will be implemented through a state-federal partnership that is designed to provide each state with flexibility in meeting its specific goal. The proposal provides guidelines for states to develop plans to meet state-specific goals set by EPA. Each state’s goal will be tailored to its own circumstances, and states will have the flexibility to reach their goal in whatever way works best for them. EPA says that state goals are not requirements on individual electrical generating units. Rather, each state will have broad flexibility to meet the rate by 2030 by lowering the overall carbon intensity of the power sector in the state.
According to various published reports, ten states including Georgia have already cut carbon emissions from power plants more than the 30% national target. An EPA fact sheet describes some of the measures states can choose to implement in their emissions reductions plans: demand-side energy efficiency programs; renewable energy standards; efficiency improvements at plants; co-firing or switching to natural gas; transmission efficiency improvements; energy storage technology; retirements of old plants; expanding renewables or nuclear; market-based trading programs; and energy conservation programs. In addition, the proposed rule makes several specific references to biomass: