October 7, 2014 -Greenville, S.C.- The South Carolina Clean Energy Business Alliance (SCCEBA) hosted a Business Roundtable at Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) on Thursday, October 2 to discuss South Carolina’s response to the EPA’s proposed Clean Energy Power Plan.
“We were able to bring together a diverse group of stakeholders who are interested in clean energy business opportunities to discuss the EPA’s proposed Clean Energy Power Plan, 111(d),” said Jim Poch, SCCEBA Executive Director. “The result was an engaging conversation about how all stakeholders need to collaborate on our state’s response.”
The EPA’s plan grew from the 2007 Supreme Court ruling that carbon dioxide was an air pollutant. The Plan is aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Each state is expected to develop its own statewide plan that will plot solutions to lower carbon emissions. South Carolina’s proposed emissions rate reduction is the third highest target in the country at 51%.
“The EPA’s Clean Energy Power Plan is a historic opportunity to modernize our electricity system for the 21st Century,” said Robert Keough, Vice President of Advanced Energy Economy (AEE). “There are many advanced energy technologies available to help states meet the goals set by the EPA.”
AEE has highlighted 40 clean energy technologies that could be used to reduce emissions in a recent report.
Currently the EPA is taking comments from states on the 1600 page proposed rule that will be finalized by June 2015. At that point it will outline how states must develop their plans. DHEC is responsible for crafting S.C.’s response, and they want to make sure stakeholders are informed and providing valuable feedback.
“This is the most complex and challenging rule we have ever had to deal with,” said Myra Reece, Bureau Chief, Bureau of Air Quality, S.C. DHEC. “Our strategy is to use all the time we have to put together a carefully crafted plan for reduction. We are different than every other state, because we have the willingness of stakeholders to come to the table and collaborate on a response.”
DHEC and all stakeholders are currently preparing responses to the Clean Power Plan Rule. The comment deadline has been extended to December 1 of this year.
“We want to work to ensure that South Carolina gets credit for early action, specifically in regard to billions of dollars of investments already made in nuclear,” said Reece. “Right now we are asking questions and talking with the EPA every day, and the EPA is looking to us to make sure we all get it right.”
A key concern is that the plan will increase South Carolina’s historically low power costs. Reece insists that is one of many reasons why it is so important to get this plan right; to minimize the impact to consumers and businesses in our state.
States will have the opportunity to write their own plans to meet the reductions goals. If states do not submit a plan, then it will be left up to the EPA to provide a plan of action.
“SCCEBA appreciated the time and expertise given by the speakers and attendees to discuss our state’s response to this important plan,” said Poch. “We work to build clean energy industry in South Carolina and it important for us to facilitate this discussion so businesses can better understand the impact of 111 (d) on our industry.”
SCCEBA is a cooperative enterprise representing the needs and interests of this growing industry through policy development, educational outreach to decision makers, and strategic economic development. For more information visit, www.SCCEBA.org.