Rachel Chalat with Seth Weissman of SolarCity, Executive Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary

Rachel Chalat wins big in Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Awards

Rachel Chalat, a third year joint degree student with SNRE studying Applied Economics and Science in Sustainable Systems, tied for first place in a national clean energy competition.  Hosted by MIT's Energy Initiative, the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E) Awards recognized Rachel's research in the development of a new method for states to assess compliance options for the EPA's proposed rules to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants.  Her work has been exemplary and has gained considerable interest with stakeholders across the Midwest.

Read below for a more deatiled description of Chalat's research project.

Policy Solutions: Meeting the EPA Carbon Rules with SCRAPS: State-based Carbon Reduction Analysis for Power Systems

On June 2, the EPA announced the Carbon Rules, a set rules for carbon emissions by existing power plants. These rules include specific mitigation goals that each state must meet by 2030, which will reduce the country’s carbon emissions from power plants by 30%. Although there are specific goals for each state, it is the responsibility of state agencies such as the Department of Environmental Quality and the Public Service Commission to create State Implementation Plans. These plans will consider state specific resources and demands, in addition to unique strategies to mitigate carbon. State agencies may face a challenge in creating these plans due to the complex nature of power systems and the need for sophisticated modeling software. Using Michigan as a test bed, this project provides an innovative tool for agencies to use in crafting State Implementation Plans. This tool, SCRAPS, is a dynamic, open-access model that is based in Excel. SCRAPS was designed specifically for the Carbon Rules, using the EPA’s four mitigation building blocks as a guide. The model approaches mitigation from an economic perspective, it meets a reduction goal by minimizing the cost of mitigation projects. This approach reflects the economic impact of the proposal on states’ economies and ratepayers. Stakeholders can use SCRAPS to consider different design policies and implementation strategies, such as collaborating with other states, or modifying system assumptions and resource availability. The Carbon Rules are a precedent setting step in our country’s fight against climate change and SCRAPS is a crucial tool for states to use to reach their goals and move towards a more sustainable future.