Kentucky Carbon Regulations Overview: (The Clean Power Plan)
Kentucky’s power plants emit more carbon per year than most states. We also are home to some of the most carbon-intensive fleets in the nation. Kentucky also is home to some of the least efficient plants. We emit more carbon per megawatt hour than most states in the country.
Under the Federal Clean Power Plan, the state must come up with a plan to reduce carbon emissions by 30.36% from 2012 emissions.
They must do this through a combination of reductions through three designated building blocks, based on reductions from 2012 as a baseline.
Kentucky’s step 1 interim goal (due in is 1,643 pounds per megawatt-hour, which reflects changes EPA made from the draft plan to provide a smoother glide path and less of a “cliff” at the beginning of the program.
EPA fact sheet on the Clean Power Plan can be found HERE.
The rule mandates that states to submit compliance plans by September of 2016 or request an extension.
Briefing Materials*: The Clean Power Plan in Kentucky
Briefing Materials: EPA Background info on the Clean Power Plan
Background Resource: Mark Dixon’s Cop 21 Website
Background Resource: Mark Dixon’s COP21 climate presentation
- In the 2014 session, a bill was passed into law (HB388) that severely restricts the Energy and Environment Cabinet from setting state-based standards as mandated under the Clean Power Plan. Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet stated in their June 2015 presentation to the Interim Joint Committee that a state-based approach would be far preferable to a federal plan.
- In the 2015 session, a workgroup was formed to address state concerns with the Federal plan, as directed from HCR168. The Federal Environmental Regulation Impact Assessment Task Force that was formed as a result of this resolution that includes both legislators and representatives from the Oil and Gas Association, Coal Association, Community Action Kentucky, AARP, Kentucky Association of Manufacturers and others. The Energy and Environment Cabinet briefed the committee on Kentucky’s concerns with the final Clean Power plan in August, 2015. Presentation HERE.
Where Does Kentucky State Government Stand on its State Implementation Plan?
- “We have known greenhouse gas emissions limits were a matter of when, not if.” — Len Peters, Former Ky. Energy and Environment Cabinet, in a presentation to the Interim Joint Committee on Ky. Natural Resources and the Environment, June 2015.
- Former State Energy and Environment Secretary Len Peters discusses carbon reduction efforts. Link HERE.
- Cabinet comments on the Clean Power Plan HERE.
- Cabinet whitepaper on electricity price increases HERE.
- The Kentucky Attorney General raised concerns about “stranded assets” (coal plant investments already made or in process that might be affected by a plant shutdown).
- The AG raised concerns that the timeline for implementation is “unreasonable” and could cause problems with the reliable delivery of electricity.
- Fourteen coal-producing states joined in a petition to block the Clean Power Plan, including Kentucky’s Attorney General. But a three-judge panel unanimously rejected the petition in June 2015. Story HERE.
- “Conway Pledges Continued EPA Coal Fight”, Louisville Courier-Journal, July 29, 2015 link HERE.
- More information on the Attorney General’s views, as well as the Governor and Energy Cabinet HERE.
Controversy regarding low-income communities:
One aspect of the Clean Power Plan that seems to be resonating with lawmakers is the effect on low income communities. However low-income communities can receive great benefits from opportunities to leverage more energy efficiency, distributed solar, and diversification of their energy choices, not to mention the health improvements to communities impacted by the pollution from coal-fired power plants. Fact sheet from NRDC on impacts to low-income communities HERE. Statement from the NAACP on support for clean air act regulations HERE. Statements from additional organizations representing low-income community interests HERE.
Where States Stand:
According to an analysis by the Union of Concerned Scientists, most states, including Kentucky, are already making significant progress toward cutting carbon emissions. Blog post on study HERE. Chart on state progress HERE.
Studies and Information relevant to southern states:
- Informative Georgia Tech report on “Low-Carbon Electricity Pathways for the U.S. and the South” (July 2015) can be found HERE.
- Information on the costs of climate change in the South can be found HERE.
Fact Sheets Relating to the Clean Power Plan in Kentucky:
- EPA News Release on the Clean Power Plan (Aug. 3)
- EPA Fact Sheet on the Clean Power Plan (Aug. 3)
- EPA Blog on Clean Power Plan (Aug. 3)
- EPA Goals for Kentucky (Aug. 3)
- Technical Summary on CPP with Timeline (Aug. 3)
- EESI Fact Sheet: Polling the American Public on Climate Change
- White House Fact Sheet on Carbon Pollution in Kentucky
- White House Fact Sheet on Climate Change in Kentucky
- National Climate Assessment: The Southeast