In my last post, here, I covered the top five myths about the Clean Power Plan. I want to throw a few benefits at you, for your reading enjoyment.
1) Cleaner Air
As a result of this plan, we certainly will have cleaner air, we could have higher paying jobs and we could provide opportunities in higher tech industries in rural areas if we adopt new renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
When I was the director of the state Energy Office, I saw new technologies just begin to enter the market –technologies that are now widespread. I saw great efforts to find alternatives to dirty coal in Arizona’s Indian reservations. Had we pushed further on those efforts in 2005, they would have been up and running by now and we would be much further along in efforts to clean the air for those citizens, as well as around the Grand Canyon.
2) The Energy-Water Nexus
We save water by converting to distributed electricity and by installing energy-saving technologies. For example, according to the same Solar Foundation report from last week's post, every megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity from natural gas that is offset by solar photovoltaics (PV) saves over 200 gallons of water, making water conservation another important lens through which to view the value of solar energy.
3) Healthier Public, Lower Healthcare Costs
In addition to helping to reduce carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan will also result in significant nation-wide public health benefits due to the great expansion of clean energy. According to EPA, the standard will avoid up to 3,600 premature deaths, result in 90,000 fewer asthma attacks in children, and prevent 300,000 missed school and work days. It will help decrease pollutants that contribute to soot and smog by more than 70 percent. Overall, EPA estimates that the plan will provide net climate and public health benefits of $25 to $45 billion in 2030.
4) The Public Wants It
Arizonans overwhelmingly support efforts to address climate change and to invest in clean renewable energy. Recent polling has shown that more than seventy percent of Arizonans believe that the government should limit dangerous greenhouse gas emissions created by polluting industries. <Do we have a link to a poll?>
5) Technology Leadership
With 247 MW installed in 2014, Arizona ranked fifth nationally in new solar capacity additions, according to a report by the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Many of us have been saying for a long time that Arizona should be a leader in renewable energy manufacturing –not just installations. Further, we are in great location to build wind turbines and blades, to be shipped to wind-rich California and New Mexico.
Also, as a state that imports over $7 billion worth of electricity, natural gas, coal and auto fuels every year, we are in a great position to build our energy efficiency industry.
You know, those oft-illusive “high technology, high paying jobs” that we all want. Thus far, our legislature’s and governor’s only plan to attract business in Arizona is to cut more taxes and school funding to the point that businesses don’t actually want to come to Arizona.
6) Global Leadership
The carbon reductions outlined in this plan can put the US in a leadership position for international climate negotiations in Paris this fall, and will put our state in a leadership position when it comes to clean energy, if we chose to take that path.
Rather than filing more lawsuits and fretting about whether we can keep more dirty coal plants chugging for another decade or two, we should just say no to utilities such as APS and SRP, and say yes to some more sunshine.