The Sierra Club released a new report detailing the steps necessary for northeastern states to lock in clean energy advances. The report, A Clean Northeast: Moving the Northeast Beyond Coal and Toward a Clean Energy Future, examines how to maintain and build on current clean energy initiatives in the region.
The Northeast is the oldest and most densely populated region of the country, with a high frequency of aging coal plants in or near major population centers. Soot, smog and mercury from these coal plants causes thousands of deaths, asthma attacks, and other health problems each year.
“Northeastern states are spending over a billion dollars importing coal from other states or countries, and it’s making their residents sick,” said Jennifer Perrone, Policy Analyst for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign. “We have the technology to replace all of the energy the Northeast gets from coal with cleaner energy. That will mean healthier kids and a healthier economy.”
The common sense recommendations in the report include continuing financial support for clean energy programs, both through protecting current clean energy funding and supporting financial incentives for new renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; pushing incentives for clean energy projects that don’t damage land, water or air; improving coordination and streamlining large-scale renewable projects, like offshore wind; and strengthening energy efficiency measures, which could reduce electricity demand by more than 20 percent.
The benefits of supporting and implementing a clean energy future in the Northeast include:
– Creating over 96,000 direct jobs in the region
– Saving $1.5 billion from reduced coal imports and billions in reduced health costs
– Stabilizing electricity prices and lowering overall energy bills with energy efficiency
– Reducing dangerous carbon pollution by 65% compared to baseline estimates
“Many states in the Northeast are already making progress—committing to reduce carbon pollution, setting energy efficiency and renewable energy requirements. States are at a crucial juncture though as the time comes to take the next steps to secure a clean energy future,” said Mark Kresowik, Northeastern Director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign.
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