Analysis: Clean Power Plan will reduce emissions at minimal cost to consumers

Press Release
September 14, 2016
Contact: Laura Rehrmann,, 703-516-4146

Analysis: Clean Power Plan will reduce emissions at minimal cost to consumers

WASHINGTON – The Clean Power Plan will drive down power sector emissions at little to no cost to consumers, according to a Center for Climate and Energy Solutions analysis of recent modeling studies.

C2ES examined five recent economic modeling studies that project the likely impacts of the Clean Power Plan on carbon emissions, the U.S. power mix, and electricity prices.

Among the key insights:

  • The Clean Power Plan reduces total power sector emissions compared to business-as-usual scenarios in every study.
    Market forces alone, such as lower costs for renewables and natural gas-fired generation, do not achieve the same reductions, even with federal tax credit extensions for wind and solar. On average, the scenarios project total emissions in 2030 under the Clean Power Plan will be 18 percent lower than what they’d be under a business-as-usual scenario.
  • Renewables increase and coal decreases compared to business-as-usual generation levels across all five studies.
    In each study, power sector emissions decline under the Clean Power Plan because of changes in the electricity generation mix, including an increase in renewables and a decrease in coal. The models are less consistent on the impact on natural gas and nuclear generation, though they suggest that these technologies will benefit from Clean Power Plan implementation. In all studies, the diversity of power generation is maintained.
  • The Clean Power Plan will have minimal impact on U.S. national average retail electricity rates.
    Two of the five studies examined the likely impact on rates. In most scenarios, rate changes range from a 2 percent decrease to a 5 percent increase, depending on how the Clean Power Plan is implemented in each state. A 5 percent increase translates to $4.65 per month, or about 15 cents a day, for the average household.

“Our energy mix is diversifying, which benefits the environment and the economy, and the Clean Power Plan can accelerate this trend,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “Even as the Clean Power Plan makes its way through the courts, many states are considering ways to implement it. They see this as an opportunity, not a threat – a chance to modernize their economies and energy infrastructure.”

The models were released this spring and summer by MJ Bradley & Associates, the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Bipartisan Policy Center, Center for Strategic and International Studies and Rhodium Group, and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. They take into account the extension by Congress of solar investment and wind production tax credits and the latest projections for natural gas prices.

Read the C2ES brief: Insights from a Comparative Analysis of Clean Power Plan Modeling

About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at