As part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed new regulations under the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants, the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the United States, by 30 percent by 2030. After that announcement was made, Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the following statement:
“When it comes to environmental protection, today is a defining moment in American history. As a nation, we’re poised to finally turn the page from sooty smokestacks to sunnier skies – and America’s solar energy industry is uniquely positioned to play a key role in the fight against climate change.
“At their very heart, the proposed new EPA regulations provide a common sense and flexible approach to reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions across the United States. They also can serve as a roadmap for future renewable energy policy in America. Simply put, solar can be a real game-changer for regulators looking to meet the changing needs of their state. Why? Because solar energy is reliable, cost competitive, environmentally friendly and easily scalable, fitting the needs of any state’s Section 111 (d) compliance plan. Just look at what’s happening today. The 14,800 megawatts of solar currently installed in the U.S. can generate enough pollution-free electricity to displace 18 billion pounds of coal or 1.8 billion gallons of gasoline. That’s the equivalent of removing 3.5 million cars off our roads and highways.
“Solar is now the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, employing 143,000 Americans and accounting for nearly 30 percent of all new electric generation capacity installed in 2013 – second only to natural gas. All totaled, solar is generating enough clean, reliable and affordable electricity to power 3 million homes. What’s more, solar has already proven to be a key part of many states’ energy mix – as demonstrated on March 8 when solar provided a record 18 percent of California’s 22,700 megawatt demand.
“Presently, there is a wide range of smart public policies and programs contributing to the successful deployment of solar nationwide. Following up on this success, we are urging state regulators and legislators to adopt and/or expand Renewable Portfolio Standards and Net Energy Metering programs; provide expedited siting and permitting for solar projects; incorporate more solar development into Integrated Resource Plans; and open markets to third-party ownership. These are just some of the ways that state regulators can create more balanced energy portfolios, reduce pollution, protect public health and meet new clean air standards.
“We look forward to working with all states to implement effective solar policies, which will help to fight climate change, create new jobs and strengthen the American economy.”
Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014, the Solar Energy Industries Association® is the national trade association of the U.S. solar energy industry. Through advocacy and education, SEIA® is building a strong solar industry to power America. As the voice of the industry, SEIA works with its 1,000 member companies to champion the use of clean, affordable solar in America by expanding markets, removing market barriers, strengthening the industry and educating the public on the benefits of solar energy. Visit SEIA online at www.seia.org.
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