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EPA Proposes First Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants

On June 2, 2014, EPA proposed CO2 emissions reduction standards for existing EGUs:  40 CFR 60 Subpart UUUU: Emission Guidelines for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Compliance Times for Electric Utility Generating Units.  A few highlights:

  • EPA’s overall goal is to reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector (nationwide) by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030.
  • The rule would apply to boilers, IGCC, and turbines (defined as EGUs).
  • Existing EGUs are those that commenced construction prior to January 8, 2014.
  • EGUs with fossil fuel heat input of 73 MW (250 MMBtu/hr) are covered.
  • Each state air pollution control agency would be required to submit a plan to achieve the proposed CO2 emissions goals, and EPA would be required to review and approve/disapprove the plan.
  • The plan must be submitted by June 30, 2016.  EPA has the authority to implement a Federal plan if the state plan is not approved or submitted.
  • Plan contents include a 10 year interim performance period of 2020 to 2029, as well as a single projection year of 2030.
  • Performance is demonstrated in the terms of rate (lb CO2/MW-hr) or mass (tons CO2).
  • Multi-state plans are allowed.
  • EGU owners and operators must comply with the state plan (or Federal plan).
  • Specific monitoring requirements (e.g., CO2 CEMS) apply to covered EGUs.
  • States must submit annual reports to EPA by July 1 for the previous calendar year, beginning July 1, 2021.

EPA has acknowledged various CO2 reduction measures that may be used, including conversion to natural gas, carbon capture and sequestration, and the use of biomass fuels.  Each state can choose its own menu of options to achieve the goals.

The proposed rule is available here:  http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-05/documents/20140602proposal-cleanpowerplan.pdf

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