America's Clean Power Plan is on the way, and it's poised to be a game-changer. The plan, finalized by the Environmental Protection Agency in August, aims to reduce carbon emissions by limiting the amount of fossil fuels that states can burn for power generation. If the restrictions play out as projected, the Clean Power Plan could actually end up saving you money on your air conditioning and heating costs, as well as creating a healthier breathing environment for your lungs. Read on to learn more about this initiative and what it means for you.
Cheaper Electricity, Murky Outlook on Gas
The Clean Power Plan is the product of years of study by the EPA and will be enacted under the authority granted by the Clean Air Act. The measure imposes sharp limits on the emissions created by power generation, which translates to a de-facto limit on how much fossil fuel can be burned. States do have flexibility in how they act to meet those limits, be it by upping their renewable energy production, using nuclear energy, increasing their efficiency, relying more on natural gas or some combination of the above.
One effect of the Clean Power Plan should be to reduce electricity prices overall, which will help lower the cost of air conditioning and heat bills for people who use heat pumps or electric resistance heaters. Another way the plan will affect consumers will be through its push-and-pull on natural gas production. On one hand, states will be incentivized to use natural gas instead of coal for electricity production. On the other hand, the plan does try to tip the scales toward renewable energy in lieu of natural gas when it comes to new generation plants, keeping emissions even lower. The effect of the plan on gas production, which down the line can affect what you pay to heat your home, has yet to be determined.
Enjoy Taking Deep Breaths Again
The Clean Power Plan has another benefit for Americans that has nothing to do with your air conditioning and heat bill: it should cut down on air pollution and create a healthier breathing environment. For example, while we rely on the ozone level high in the sky to block harmful sun rays, ozone at ground level is better known as smog, which can be very harmful to our health. The emission reductions called for by the plan will cut down on smog and other nasty forms of pollution, helping the nation's air to be healthier overall.
What's more, one of the biggest effects of climate change is unusually hot and dry weather in certain parts of the country, which leads to raging wildfires and harmful particulates that can damage your lungs. Strange weather patterns have also been blamed for an increase in allergies this year. By slowing the pace of climate change and keeping harmful pollutants out of the air, the Clean Power Plan can help you breathe easy.
If you have other questions about how the Clean Power Plan could affect your air conditioning and heat bills, contact an HVAC technician today.