Changes from the Draft Rule
In addition to the building blocks, much has changed from the draft to the final rule. The final rule requires states to collectively reduce carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 32% below 2005 levels in the next 15 years – more stringent than the 30% reductions proposed in the draft rule. While the year of the final goal remains the same (2030), the year for compliance with interim goals was changed from 2020 to 2022. A significant amount of flexibility is afforded to states to meet their interim goals between 2022 – 2029.
Other changes worth noting:
- The baseline year remains 2012, but EPA did adjust it to reflect, among other things, updated unit-level data and reliability concerns. Announced power plant retirements remain in the baseline.
- States can still pursue a rate-based compliance approach (CO2 lbs/MWh) or a mass-based approach measured in total short tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
- States may submit individual state plans or multi-state plans.
- Emissions trading is allowed under both mass- and rate-based approaches.
- EPA also created the Clean Energy Incentive Program, which offers an optional incentive for additional early investments in energy efficiency, wind and solar in low-income communities that deliver results during 2020 and/or 2021.
The timeline for compliance has also been pushed back a year in some instances.
The new timeline is:
- September 6, 2016 – submission of either (1) a complete plan, or (2) an initial plan with a request for an extension
- September 6, 2017 – submission of a progress update for states that received an extension
- September 6, 2018 – submission of final plans
Along with the final rule, the EPA released draft evaluation, measurement, and verification (EM&V) guidance for demand-side energy efficiency. EM&V requirements will only apply to those states pursuing a rate-based compliance approach.
The public has 90 days following the publication of the proposed model rule in the Federal Register to comment. Comments should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. MEEA will be reviewing the guidance document and providing comments to the EPA based on experiences in the Midwest. MEEA previously submitted joint comments with two other regional energy efficiency organizations from the Southeast.