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New US regulations set to produce more renewable energy and cut CO2 emissions

The US will produce 30% more renewable energy by 2030 under the new clean power plan (CPP), presented by President Obama on 3 August.

The new federal regulations sets limitations on CO2 emissions for existing power plants in separate states with a target to cut emissions by 32% from 2005 levels by 2030, which is up from the earlier proposal of 30%.

However, states will only have to comply with the new regulations by 2022 rather than 2020 as originally proposed, and will be able submit their plans on meeting the targets by 2018 instead of 2017.

States are free to formulate their own plans to reduce CO2 emission, but will have to meet interim goals from 2022 to 2029, apart from their separate emission reduction targets for 2030.

‘Power plants are the single biggest source of the harmful carbon pollution that contributes to climate change. But until now there have been no federal limits on the amount of that pollution those plants can dump into the air,’ President Obama said in a video address.

However, 35 US states have already individually set renewable energy targets and over 25 have energy efficiency targets.

The CPP is expected to bring in billions of dollars in climate and public health benefits and prevent as many as 3,600 premature deaths in 2030.

Apart from boosting renewable energy generation, the plan also aims to reduce of the cost of renewables.

The CPP has been welcomed by several companies and organisations, but has also drawn criticism.

The Algae Biomass Organization (ABO), the algae industry’s trade association, supports the new regulations.

‘This is a huge win for the algae industry, and one we have been working towards for more than a year. The rule gives new certainty to a number of companies across the nation that are commercialising algae-based technologies that convert carbon dioxide generated at power plants into fuels, feeds, fertilisers, and other valuable products,’ ABO says in a press release.

The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), the National Mining Association, and the US Chamber of Commerce are among the ones opposing the plan.

‘It is a bad deal for America, and we will pursue all available options, including litigation if necessary, to block EPA's regulatory power grab from taking effect,’ says the Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Thomas Donohu.