Power generation is getting cleaner every year. With the right policies that unleash competition to drive results and new solutions, we’re sure to build a lower-carbon future without sacrificing economic growth or essential electric service.
New data reveal that competitive power markets continue to spur clean energy investment and efficiencies that reduce carbon emissions and improve our environment.
PJM Interconnection, which runs the nation’s largest competitive power market serving 65 million customers in 13 states and D.C., announced that carbon emissions across its footprint declined further in 2020 – a 39% drop since 2005.
And a new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory demonstrates the impressive strides that the U.S. power sector has made toward decarbonization in recent years. Thanks in large part to competitive power suppliers, CO2 emissions from electric generation are 52% lower than 2005 estimates projected. As policy leaders from state legislators to President Biden set new climate targets, it’s worth examining what has been achieved to date and the role power generators and competitive electricity markets will play in further reducing emissions at an affordable cost. Reaching ambitious emissions reductions goals will be best achieved through policies that lean on competition and markets to drive further innovation—such as carbon pricing or a well-designed clean energy standard.
Download our fact sheet to learn more about how an economy-wide carbon price or well-designed clean energy standard can help build the reliable, affordable grid of the future.
The report, Halfway to Zero: Progress Towards a Carbon-Free Power Sector, shows that 2005 projections for the year 2020 failed to anticipate the environmental and efficiency strides the sector would make in the 15 years since. A combination of increased efficiency, low natural gas prices and surges in technological advancements has further positioned the power sector as an invaluable partner in mitigating climate change over the past decade and a half and in the years to come. Consumers and large energy users have also enjoyed lower wholesale power generation prices along with enhanced reliability.
EPSA members’ environmental accomplishments over the past two decades illustrate how competition and innovation enabled by wholesale power markets reduces emissions by driving the development of cleaner energy technologies.
Between 2000 and 2018, EPSA members operating in the New York ISO regional market cut carbon dioxide emissions by 30 million tons. As competitive markets continue to embrace resources that cut cost and carbon, the outlook for the power sector’s environmental impact is even more promising in the years to come. Furthermore, EPSA members have proven that prioritizing the environment needn’t sacrifice reliability. J-POWER USA’s Jackson Generation combined-cycle plant in Elwood, Illinois is expected to bring between 1,000 to 1,200 MW of reliable power to 1.2 million Illinois homes beginning in 2022. The plant is estimated to be 50% more efficient than its peers while still producing some of the lowest emissions of any conventional resource generation facility nationwide.
But in addition to reduced emissions and steadfast reliability, the wholesale power markets in which EPSA’s members operate are also delivering cost savings for consumers. In the PJM Interconnection market, Americans enjoy between $3.4 billion to $4 billion in savings every year by integrating more efficient resources, prioritizing the lowest generation costs, and reducing the need for extra reserves by drawing from a wide pool of power generators.
Learn more about PJM Interconnection in EPSA’s Competitive Electricity Market Spotlight.
EPSA’s dedication to reduced emissions, increased reliability, and affordable power has shown that a more strategic approach to electric generation comes with big payoffs. EPSA member companies own and operate more than 6,000 MW of power capacity sourced from renewables (in addition to cost-competitive, zero-emitting nuclear plants), which is projected to only continue rising over the next few decades. The power sector is already a critical player in the fight to reduce emissions, and EPSA members look forward to making further contributions to advancing this mission in the years to come. With the right policies that unleash competition to drive results and new solutions, we’re sure to build a lower-carbon future without sacrificing economic growth or essential electric service.
Explore the benefits of competition here.