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[ Cleaning the Air and Boosting the Bottom Line ]

States challenging the president’s Clean Power Plan claim it would raise electricity prices and cost jobs, but two separate new studies say implementing the plan could do just the opposite. The Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is hearing arguments today in a suit brought by 24 states and several corporations challenging the plan.

But according to Jennifer Kefer, the executive director of the Alliance for Industrial Efficiency, their report shows that putting the plan into action would be a win for business, workers, and the climate.

“By investing in industrial efficiency, we can reduce emissions while simultaneously slashing utility bills, creating jobs and strengthening the industrial sector,” she said.

The study by Georgia Tech said nationally the plan would save more than $440 billion in energy costs over 15 years, while creating business opportunities and new jobs.

One way of increasing efficiency and cutting costs is by installing combined heat and power in hotels, office buildings, hospitals and industrial plants.

Tom McGeehan, business development director for commercial and industrial products at E-Finity, said on-site power generation using those combined systems can achieve up to 80 percent efficiency.

“It’s also a part of the governor’s new energy plan, so the state is recognizing that combined heat and power could be a huge push to help lower the emissions throughout the state,” he said.

E-Finity has installed about 20 of those systems in Pennsylvania with more coming online in the next year.

The Georgia Tech study also estimates that by implementing the Clean Power Plan, Pennsylvania industries could be saving almost $9.5 billion a year by 2030.

Dr. Marilyn Brown, the professor of sustainable systems at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy, and author of the study, said over 15 years that’s almost $85 billion total.

“Money that can be spent on plant modernization or product improvement, expanding the customer base for these products leading to business growth, local jobs, all kinds of benefits,” Brown explained.

The AIE study estimates that industrial energy efficiency alone could reduce carbon emissions nationwide by 175 million tons a year in 2030.

-Andrea Sears, Keystone State News Connection

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