An 80×30 Clean Electricity Standard: Carbon, Costs, and Health Benefits
This report analyzes the energy, economic, environmental, and health outcomes of an illustrative clean energy standard design that reaches 80% clean electricity by 2030.
This report analyzes the energy, economic, environmental, and health outcomes of an illustrative clean energy standard (CES) design that reaches 80% clean electricity by 2030, and offers important information on the costs and benefits of such a policy.
The analysis is the first to map at a county scale the changes in air quality and related health benefits for the lower 48 states. It compares an 80×30 policy scenario to a range of alternative policies for reducing carbon from the energy sector and finds it is the top performer in terms of net climate benefits (climate benefits minus costs) and total health benefits. The analysis is also the first to look at the health impacts of projected air quality improvements by racial and ethnic groups.
The analyses in this brief were conducted over the last two years as part of the Clean Energy Futures project, an independent collaboration with researchers from Syracuse University; the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Georgia Institute of Technology; and Resources for the Future.
The 80×30 CES has the largest net benefits of the 8 policies examined: The illustrative 80×30 CES has the largest estimated total and climate-related net benefits of other policies analyzed in the Clean Energy Futures project
Nationally, the estimated climate benefits of an 80×30 CES are large and outweigh the costs: Estimated climate benefits are $637 billion; estimated costs are $342 billion and include the cost of fuel, building new capital projects and retrofitting existing facilities, and operating energy facilities.
The additional health benefits from cleaner air would be immediate, substantial, and widespread.
Top Ten States for Premature Deaths Avoided in the Year 2030: Ohio (771), Texas (737), Pennsylvania (582), Illinois (529), Florida (463), North Carolina (453), Indiana (441), Tennessee (424), Michigan (396), Georgia (377)
The Clean Energy Futures Project
The Clean Energy Futures Project aims to quantify the carbon emissions, costs, and air quality outcomes of contrasting electricity sector policies that are relevant to current national discussions. The results will provide policymakers with rigorous and timely research for decision making.
The Clean Energy Futures project is a multi-institutional research initiative with collaborators from Syracuse University; the Center for Climate, Health and the Global Environment at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Resources for the Futures; and Georgia Institute of Technology.
Dallas Burtraw is a Darius Gaskins senior fellow at RFF. Burtraw’s research includes analysis of the distributional and regional consequences of climate policy and the evolution of electricity markets including renewable integration.
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