The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) believes that the EPA is dramatically underestimating the United States’ potential to shift to renewable energy, according to a proposed energy plan by the organization released on Tuesday.
While the EPA estimated that the United States could reduce its 2005 emissions rate by 30 percent by the year 2030 – with renewables’ share of the energy marketplace increasing to only 12 percent in that time – the UCS believes the real number could be almost twice as large. The UCS released this energy plan as part of the public comment period for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
In a press release for the energy plan, the UCS states that the United States has the capacity and ability to reduce emissions as much as 40 percent and increase renewable energy to at least 23 percent of national power sales by 2030.
“There is an urgent need to reduce heat-trapping gases, and power plants are about forty percent of the problem,” said President of the UCS Ken Kimmell in the press release. “Fortunately, renewable electricity has been growing by leaps and bounds for the past five years and costs keep dropping.”
In determining its original 2030 goals, the EPA divided up the United States into different regional segments, and set emissions goals for each region, with the belief that renewable energy usage would slow down or cease expanding upon hitting this goal.
UCS found that seven states “are already producing more renewable electricity than the EPA computed they could in 2030,” and that seventeen additional states have set state-level renewable energy requirements that already exceed the EPA’s 2030 draft rule standards. The UCS estimates that adopting their more aggressive climate energy plan could lead to a reduction of up to 200 million tons in CO2 emissions.
The public comment period for the EPA’s Clean Power Plan will remain open until December 1. As of press time, the EPA has yet to release a response statement on the UCS report.