EPA Solicits Emissions Standards Input

on October 04, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Europe's Biggest Coal-Burning Power Plant Begins Operation

EPA will solicit public input for its proposed carbon dioxide emissions standards for existing power plants through a series of scheduled listening sessions.

On September 30, 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a schedule of 11 public listening sessions across the U.S. to solicit input for its proposed carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions standards for existing power plants.  The move comes as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan that directed EPA to issue draft CO2 emissions standards for existing power plants by June 2014 (to be finalized by June 2015) and new power plants by September 2013.

2012 U.S. CO2 Emissions

According to EPA, power plants are the largest stationary source of U.S. carbon emissions, accounting for approximately one-third of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The Clean Air Act (CAA) requires EPA to establish New Source Performance Standards to limit CO2 emissions from coal- and natural gas-fueled power plants.  It directs EPA to develop guidelines that states would use to design emissions reduction programs.  Under CAA, existing power plants standards cannot be finalized until new power plant standards finalized.

Pursuant to CAA and in accordance with the Climate Action Plan, EPA proposed CO2 emissions standards for new power plants on September 20, 2013, setting separate standards for natural gas- and coal-fueled power plants.  The proposal sets an emissions limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour (lb CO2/MWh) for new large natural gas-fueled plants and 1,100 lb CO2/MWh for small natural gas-fueled plants.  It sets a limit of 1,100 lb CO2/MWh for new coal-fired units, with the option to select a seven-year compliance period for operational flexibility under a tighter (1,000 lb CO2/MWh) limit .  To meet the standard, new coal plants would require at least partial carbon capture and sequestration, a technology that is not yet commercially viable.

In proposing emissions standards for existing power plants, EPA is required to consider different plant configurations to design cost-effective carbon reduction methods.  Public and stakeholder input is crucial to provide current power plant operational information.

Public Listening Session Locations (EPA)

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