EPA Releases Proposed Clean Power Plan Replacement, the “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) Rule
Press Release by Tip Stama and Lauren Mechak
On August 21, 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency released their Proposed Rule to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electric-generating power plants that would repeal and replace the Obama-era “Clean Power Plan”.
The Proposed Rule would:
• Limit GHG regulations to on-site efficiency measure (reduced lbs. CO2/MWh) for coal-fired power plants
• Give states authority to set their own emission reduction performance standards
• Prescribe potential efficiency technologies for coal-fired power plants
• Loosen “New Source Review” permitting requirements for plants making modifications to meet ACE efficiency obligations
The EPA is legally required to regulate GHG emissions, an obligation that EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler claimed would need a “major, compelling reason to try to ever reopen”.
As written, the Proposed Rule gives states wide latitude to determine what level of emission reduction is feasible for a given power plant. Although the Proposed Rule provides ranges for expected efficiency improvements, it does not set any minimum threshold.
Market-based compliance mechanisms (e.g., tradable permit systems) are not included in the Proposed Rule. However, the EPA is requesting public comments regarding if and how such a measure could be legally included.
The Proposed Rule only regulates and provides potential technology standards for coal-fired power plants, excluding integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) plants. The EPA is soliciting comments for efficiency technologies for natural gas plants. The Rule in its current form would cover about 300 coal-fired facilities.
Finally, plants that install efficiency technology would not need to undergo the “New Source Review” permitting processes if their hourly rate of pollutant emissions does not increase.
Public comments will be accepted for the Proposed Rule for 60 days, with a Final Rule promulgated in early 2019. Once in place, states have three years to submit a plan. However, legal challenges are expected to substantially slow any plan implementation.
Read the full Federal Register Notice, the Summary Fact Sheet, and find more details on the EPA Website.
For more information or to discuss how ClimeCo can drive value for your organization, contact Tip Stama at 814-364-4757 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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