The Clean Power Plan is a federal rule aimed at cleaning up the carbon footprint of our electricity. (Psst! Learn the basics in our video.) As we head into a legal battles over whether the rule is an overreach of federal power, it’s important to ask…
How big of a difference will it actually make?
The short answer: In some places, like California, it’ll make practically no difference at all. In others, like North Dakota, it’ll be earth-shifting.
The longer answer: The U.S. Environmental Information Administration (note: part of the Department of Energy and not the Environmental Protection Agency, which issued the rule) has modeled what our electricity generation mix will look like in 2030 with and without the Clean Power Plan. You can explore those projections, by region, in the interactive below.
Across the board, we’re already heading for a power grid with less coal and more natural gas, wind and solar – with or without the Clean Power Plan – due to their low relative cost. But with the CPP, that trend would be intensified.
In some regions, like the Northeast, the projected effects of the CPP are minimal. California, for example, has its own state renewable energy standards that exceed the targets outlined in the CPP. But in other regions, like the Upper Plains and the Southeast, a Clean Power Plan-future looks quite different from the status quo.