Clean First: Aligning Regulation with Environmental Goals



Power sector regulators will play a vital role in efforts to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the years ahead. Neither carbon taxes nor cap-and-trade policies alone will achieve the sizeable reductions of GHG emissions that are needed. RAP proposes that in regulatory decisions, clean  resources should get every reasonable preference over resources that have greater environmental impact.  This represents a fundamental shift in policymaking that RAP calls “Clean First.”

RAP offers a series of policy options that can be combined with carbon pricing approaches to deliver effective and low-cost carbon savings. One such option, the Clean First dispatch rule, would order operation based on the emissions characteristics of the resource, with cleaner and more efficient power plants operating before dirtier, less efficient ones. The approach is already underway in China.

Specific policies will vary from country to country, but RAP’s options have global applicability.  Policies to achieve Clean First’s long-term climate and air quality goals – including those related to transmission, dispatch, and capacity markets – are central to much of RAP’s work.

Read more about Europe’s effort to decarbonize its power sector here.