Clean Energy Incentive Program Gaining Supporters
Support for the Clean Energy Incentive Program (CEIP) was strong during the first and only U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) national hearing on the program this August in Chicago. More than 300 supporters attended the hearing and nearly half provided oral testimony in support of both the Clean Power Plan and this innovative program to advance renewable energy and energy efficiency.
As part of the EPA Clean Power Plan, placing the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, the voluntary CEIP allows states to opt in to the program to be eligible for incentives to develop solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric projects. The program also doubles the incentives for states that develop energy efficiency or solar projects serving low-income communities.
In February, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to put the Clean Power Plan on hold until current legal challenges are resolved; but that does not prevent states from moving forward with drafting state implementation plans or participating in the CEIP.
As a Midwest energy policy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists, Jessica Collingsworth gave testimony: “I shared that in developing the CEIP, the EPA rightly recognized two fundamental challenges that need to be addressed in the equitable and effective implementation of the Clean Power Plan. First, we need to encourage near-term deployment of renewables to adequately cut emissions and limit a rush to natural gas, which has inherent economic and consumer risks and is still a fossil fuel. Second, we need to ensure that low-income communities who have historically borne a disproportionate burden of fossil fuel pollution and suffer chronic underinvestment in local clean energy and energy efficiency resources are prioritized for meaningful investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy resources.”
CEIP benefits go only to states that act ahead of key deadlines, so it is in their interest to have a clean energy infrastructure in place to fully realize them when they take effect. Several states, including Illinois, have yet to convene stakeholders on the CPP or the CEIP. Time is of the essence, and we need to act now.
The EPA has extended the comment period from stakeholders and the public on several key design elements of the CEIP until November 1. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments at Tinyurl.com/CEIP-Comment-Page. Or, comments may be emailed to [email protected] and include Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2016-0033 in the subject line of the message.
Ask Gov. Bruce Rauner to power ahead on the Clean Power Plan for Illinois at 312-814-2121 or 217-782-0244 or Illinois.gov/gov/contactus/Pages/VoiceAnOpinion.aspx. To get involved in Illinois clean energy, email Collingsworth at [email protected].