Faced with crafting a plan for complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP), states must weigh the risks and rewards of numerous compliance options as they strive to reduce emissions, maintain reliability, and meet public policy goals. At the Governors’ Wind Energy Coalition Workshop, Ken Colburn provided insight into the CPP, the role of renewable energy in compliance, as well as the associated opportunities and challenges.

As one of the four “building blocks” established by the EPA for compliance, renewable energy is a favored method for reducing emissions. However, many questions remain unanswered at this stage—how to deal with curtailment, how to quantify emissions savings from renewable resources, and how to treat interstate transfers—that could deter the expansion of renewable energy programs in some states. Mr. Colburn encourages renewable energy stakeholders to take an active role in their state’s planning activities. He recommends they ensure regulators examine the multitude of policy and technology options available outside of the EPA’s basic building blocks, explore regional solutions, and avoid the constraints of traditional air quality practices under section 110 of the Clean Air Act. The renewable energy industry can also find allies in demand response providers, the regional transmission operators, energy imbalance market operators, storage providers, and other market participants.