Interest groups pressure EPA for energy efficiency regulations

Interest groups are putting pressure on the Environmental Protection Agency to include energy efficiency in a central role in its upcoming guidelines for existing power plants in the United States. The Alliance to Save Energy and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy submitted joint comments to the EPA at the end of last week, making energy efficient measures in the agency's future regulations of power plant carbon emissions a main priority.

"The Alliance and ACEEE strongly support the recognition and encouragement of energy efficiency as an emissions reduction strategy and a means to help achieve compliance with air quality regulations," the comments stated.

The forthcoming EPA regulations on all existing power plants in the country take effect at the beginning of June 2014, when the EPA will issue carbon pollution standards, regulations and guidelines for all power plants. By June 2015 every plant must submit a report to the federal government detailing how the new environmental standards will be met.

The comments from the interest groups also highlighted energy efficiency as a way to reduce federal spending in the upcoming year. When implemented, efficiency measures can greatly reduce the energy consumption and cost to an organization.

For example, the University of California San Diego has gone to great lengths over the last few years to decrease its energy costs while improving environmental sustainability. While these efforts have saved the campus the equivalent of 59 metric tons of carbon dioxide in environmental terms, they have also earned the school over $7 million in incentives from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). The school has installed over 30 energy efficiency programs, saving millions of dollars in energy costs.

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