States, cities, companies support clean power

A number of states, cities, and power companies plan to press forward with clean energy efforts despite this week’s Supreme Court stay of the Clean Power Plan.

That’s because the future of carbon regulation is not “if” but “how and when,” and it is too big a question not to continue a thoughtful conversation among thoughtful people.

States to explore options

Officials in states including California, Colorado, Minnesota, Virginia, and Washington have said the court’s temporary stay won’t stop them from continuing to explore implementation options, which include leveraging the power of market forces to reduce emissions. Even states suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been having these conversations, and most will continue to.

For instance, Montana Department of Environmental Quality energy bureau chief Laura Andersen told ClimateWire, "The market forces at play in the region are quite significant and will not go away just because the Clean Power Plan has a stay on it.”

Al Minier, chairman of the Wyoming Public Service Commission, said the stay could give regulators more time to develop strategies that are best for the state.

Cities back climate action

In a statement, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said it’s disappointed by the court’s move, especially given that it previously ruled greenhouse gas emissions can be regulated under the Clean Air Act.

Across the country, cities from Phoenix to Philadelphia are developing innovative partnerships with the private sector, investors, and the state to improve energy efficiency and increase renewable energy. These actions can help states meet Clean Power Plan obligations, but they also help cities and business cut energy costs, increase competitiveness, and improve local air quality.

Companies support clean power

Companies, including members of the C2ES Business Environmental Leadership Council, stepped forward this week to reiterate their support for reducing carbon emissions.

Among the statements from company officials:

National Grid, U.S.: “Climate change is a global imperative, and we must find ways to transition our energy industry into a decarbonized future.”

Pacific Gas and Electric Co.: “PG&E will continue to support the Clean Power Plan and will move forward with the many steps we are taking to support California's commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.”

Dominion: "We will work constructively with the Commonwealth and other stakeholders on a compliance plan that has our customers as the first priority, ensures reliability, and maintains a diverse mix of electric generation."

Exelon Corp.: "Our customers want reliable, clean and affordable electricity, and Exelon remains committed to helping drive the national transition to a low-carbon future."

At C2ES, we will continue to engage with states, cities, and companies on efficient and effective approaches to curbing emissions while keeping our power supplies reliable and affordable.

Progress is being made, but it must continue – and accelerate – if we are to avoid the most severe economic and environmental impacts of a changing climate. Tomorrow’s electricity system needs to look different from today’s, and it would be wise to continue to work on the clean power transformation.