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23 Energy Policies That Could Save Americans $5 Billion a Year

Same Climate-Friendly Policies Would Create 2.5 Million Jobs, Study Finds

By SolveClimate Staff

Apr 23, 2010

Coal Plant Efficiency or Repowering — Cost: $12.95 per ton. This involves increasing generation efficiency at power stations through such methods as installing more efficient boilers and turbines, improving control systems, using combined-cycle technology or switching to low-emitting fuels, such as natural gas or biomass.

Energy Efficiency: Demand Side Management — Cost: -$40.71 per ton. Using policies to lower demand-side electricity use can cut emissions for a net financial gain. Some examples include savings targets, public benefit charges, portfolio standards, energy trusts, integrated resource planning, performance-based incentives, decoupling of rates and revenues, and appropriate rate treatment for efficiency.

High Performance Buildings — Cost: -$24.99 per ton. Setting incentives and targets for building owners and developers to meet high-efficiency standards can also significantly cut energy use at a net savings. The building sector right now consumes about 40 percent of energy used in the United States.

Appliance Standards — Cost: -$53.21 per ton. Setting appliance efficiency standards reduces the market cost by creating economies of scale. Policies can be at the state and federal levels, and regional coordination of standards can avoid concerns that manufacturers will target their least efficient models to states without standards.

Building Codes — Cost: -$22.86 per ton. These state and local codes specify energy efficiency requirements for new buildings or buildings being renovated. Amending the codes can increase energy efficiency.

Combined Heat and Power — Cost: -$13.18 per ton. Encouraging CHP systems improves efficiency and avoids the energy lost when power is transmitted.

Vehicle Purchase Incentives — Cost: -$66.37 per ton. Governments programs like “Cash for Clunkers” can provide incentives for the public and companies to buy low-emitting vehicles. Another option is pay-as-you-drive auto insurance, which bases insurance on miles driven rather than a monthly fee.

Renewable Fuel Standard — Cost: $57.14 per ton. These regulations require a percentage of fuel sold to be biofuel, such as ethanol or biodiesel.

Smart Growth/Land Use — Cost: -$1.11 per ton. States can encourage smart growth planning that reduces sprawl and maximizes environmental and economic resources by providing information, technical assistance and models for local communities to follow. Policies can include open space protection and transit-oriented development.

Transit — Cost: $16.72 per ton. Expanding public transit options, such as bus and rail, can cut automobile emissions.

Anti-Idling Technologies and Practices — Cost: -$65.19 per ton. Several states and local governments set limits on how long buses and trucks can idle. Technologies such as truck stop electrification and automatic engine shut-down/start-up system controls can reduce those emissions, as well.

Shift from Truck to Rail — Cost: -$91.56 per ton. Carrying freight by rail rather than trucks can reduce emissions, fuel consumption, idling, roadway congestion and wear and tear on highways.

Crop Production Practices — Cost: $15.69 per ton. Encouraging no-till farming and crop rotation can increase the amount of carbon stored in soil. Improving the efficiency of fertilizer can reduce nitrous oxide emissions and runoff.

Anaerobic Digestion and Methane Utilization — Cost: $11.27 per ton. Manure at livestock operations can be used to create heat or power, offsetting fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Forest Retention — Cost: $39.38 per ton. Easements and conservation programs can help preserve existing forests.

Reforestation/Afforestation — Cost: $33.18 per ton. Establishing forests on open land or deforested land can increase natural carbon storage.

Urban Forestry — Cost: $13.35 per ton. Urban greenery can absorb carbon and reduce cooling needs by providing shade.


These are great ideas that the American government should be really thinking a lot and putting it into plan and action. I like a lot several ideas such as energy efficiency, anti-idling technologies and practices which could use , forest retention and landfill gas management. Hopefully, some of these ideas would be really put into action.

Transportation policy

Here is an excerpt from the for the new CAFE vehicle emission/fuel-economy standards: "... a new 2016 MY vehicle is estimated to cost $948 more (on average, and relative to the reference case vehicle) due to the addition of new GHG reducing technology ... the present value of the lifetime net savings is greater than $3,100 at a 3% discount rate, or $2,300 at a 7% discount rate." That corresponds to a carbon abatement cost of something like minus $50/ton.

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