Support for Solar Power and Renewable Electricity Generation at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Author:  Krausz, Brian
Organization:  GW School of Engineering
Report Date: 
2009
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Report Summary: 

This GW Student report examines the US Environmental Protection Agency’s role in support national plans for renewable electricity generation. Specifically, the report examines EPA’s role in developing criteria to evaluate environmental effects of electricity-related consumer products, ensuring future infrastructure projects are consistent with the mission of EPA, and expanding authority and programs for evaluating environmental effects of electricity. 

Key Take-Aways: 
  • The paper recommends EPA establish standards for comparing renewable energy technologies in terms of environmental impact, with a goal of safe deployment of these resources.
  • The paper additionally recommends EPA leverage partnerships and expand certain programs to promote deployment of safe renewable energy.
  • Recommended standards include creating a national review systems for distributed renewable energy technologies, certifying electricity generators with environmental impact ratings, and to establish regular reporting requirements for companies and organizations that achieve certification. 
Key Facts: 
  • Renewable energy systems are not subject to EPA regulations under the Clean Air Act and resulting permitting of pollutant emissions because they have zero emissions during operation.
  • Renewable technologies, namely solar PV, still require EPA’s attention because they are not without some environmental impact, such as land use issues, and the generation of e-waste and potentially toxic chemicals during the manufacturing process.