Thursday, September 12, 2013

U.S. EPA's New Plans for regulating Coal-fired Power Plants

Background: the EPA has long been on the cusp of introducing regulations for coal-fired power plants, which previous plans delayed for fear they were structured in a way that would make them susceptible to being struck down in court.

EPA Plan to Curb New Coal-Fired Power Plants | Wall Street Journal (subscription)
After the resistance last year, many observers had expected the administration to tone down its rule and possibly create a path for new coal plants using existing technology.
But a person who has seen a recent version of the revised rule said it would propose an emissions limit of 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour for coal plants and 1,000 pounds per megawatt hour for large gas-fired plants. Last year's version was only slightly different, setting a 1,000-pound limit for both types of plants.
EPA regulation of greenhouse gases, which is governed by the Clean Air Act, has to be achievable based on technology that has been successfully proven. Power plants with carbon capture and storage—known as CCS—have been demonstrated at small scales, but never at full commercial scale in the U.S.
I would be this drags on until 2015 at the earliest - putting the regulations for existing plants around 2016.  Meaningfully it will probably stop any planning of new plants until, at the earliest, there is a new administration in Washington.

1100 pounds is roughly equivalent to 500 kg, more than the level in regulations announced a year ago for Canada- see Canada's ENGO's Offensive Response to New Regulations for coal-fired generators

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