Public Benefit Charges: A Promising New Avenue to Reduce Toxics Deposition to the Great Lakes
This team designed and tested selection criteria to support energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that reduce the maximum amount of toxic emissions—especially mercury, dioxins/furans and cadmium—deposited from the air into the Great Lakes. The project team applied the criteria to Great Lakes Public Benefit Charge Funds (PBCFs) decisions at a pilot scale in Illinois and New York. The team found that only one state PBCF considered toxic air emissions, states did not require applicants to estimate PBCF emission reductions, and PBCF emission reductions were not credited by state emission compliance programs. In response, team members developed and presented a draft methodology for emissions impact analysis, based on regional power plant data and estimates of future electrical demand. The team estimated the cost of implementing energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, and it identified additional opportunities to connect with PBCF managers in the Northeast and Midwest.