The Clean Power Plan’s impact on Georgia

Under EPA's final rule, Georgia will get credit for the under-construction nuclear power at Plant Vogtle if the units are completed on time. This credit should not take away from Georgia’s momentum in building up more cost-effective investments in solar and wind. (© Georgia Power)

As states continue to digest what this week’s release of the Clean Power Plan means for them, Senior Attorney Kurt Ebersbach took to the airwaves for a debate on Atlanta’s NPR station WABE. Also participating in the debate was Georgia Public Service Commission Chairman Tim Echols.

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan sets carbon emissions targets for power plants in each state with the goal of getting national emissions at least 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. The plan is the latest in President Obama’s efforts to position the United States as a leader in the fight against climate change. This week’s announcement is particularly momentous as the first-ever federal plan to limit pollution from power plants, the single largest source of carbon emissions in the U.S., which trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere. 

Before the final Clean Power Plan was released, one of the biggest questions for Georgia was how under construction nuclear would be treated since the state’s largest utility, Georgia Power, is in the process of building additional nuclear units at its Vogtle plant. In response to input from the states, EPA confirmed that states with nuclear units under construction can get credit for that capacity once those projects are complete. The new approach dropped Georgia’s emissions target by nearly 30 percent, meaning the state is now even closer to meeting its goal.

“We are well poised to meet this goal with or without the Clean Power Plan…just by continuing to build on the great strides we’ve already made as a state,” said Ebersbach.

To listen to the full interview, click here.

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