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Power Sector Opportunities for Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Fact Sheet Series

In our flagship report, Can The U.S. Get There From Here?, we identified ambitious action in the power sector as the single greatest opportunity the Obama administration can take in the absence of congressional action in order to meet the U.S. commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. In his Climate Action Plan, President Obama has directed EPA to work expeditiously to finalize carbon dioxide (CO₂) emission standards for new power plants and adopt standards for existing power plants. As states prepare to comply with these standards, it will be necessary to understand available opportunities for reducing CO₂ emissions from the power sector.

This series of fact sheets aims to shed light on these opportunities by illustrating the CO₂ emissions-reduction potential from measures in a variety of states. For example, states could build off of existing initiatives like renewable portfolio standards, energy efficiency standards, and other policies as well as use tools like greater efficiency at coal plants, increased use of combined heat and power, and fuller utilization of unused capacity at natural gas plants. We show how emissions savings from these existing policies and infrastructure stack up against the reductions that could be required under forthcoming standards. This series is based on
WRI analysis conducted using publicly available data. See the appendix
for additional information on our methodology and modeling assumptions.

For more information about this series, please contact Michael Obeiter.

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