On March 27, 2012 the Environmental Protection Agency, under the authority of the Clean Air Act, released proposed greenhouse gas standards for newly constructed power plants. The rules would require that “new fossil‐fuel‐fired power plants meet an output‐based standard of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt‐hour (lb CO2/MWh gross).” Combined-cycle natural gas plants should be able to meet this requirement, and coal- or petroleum coke-fired plants would be able to with emerging technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
The proposed rules elicited varied response from advocacy groups, many of which were highlighted in this Los Angeles Times article.
Environmental Defense Fund’s Megan Ceronsky: “I think the administration releasing a proposed regulation for greenhouse gases for new plants is as strong a signal that anyone can ask for about how seriously they are addressing the threat of climate change.”
National Mining Association’s Hal Quinn: “Requiring coal-based power plants to meet an emissions standard based on natural gas technology is a policy overtly calculated to destroy a significant portion of America’s electricity supply. This proposal is the latest convoy in EPA’s regulatory train wreck that is rolling across America, crushing jobs and arresting our economic recovery at every stop.”
Sierra Club’s Michael Brune: “What this essentially says is we will never be building dirty old coal plants ever again. The dominant power source of the 19th and 20th centuries won’t be the same again.”
Utility-holding company Public Service Energy Group’s Ralph Izzo: “The agency’s action establishes a logical and modest standard for new electric power plants and provides the industry with much-needed regulatory certainty. The EPA provides a framework for the industry to confront this problem in a cost-effective manner.”
MIT Energy Initiative’s Howard Herzog: “We’re not going to build certain plants, but we probably weren’t going to build them anyway.”
The rules would not apply to existing power plants, and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told reporters that EPA has no plans to promulgate such rules. [New York Times]
What are your thoughts on the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas standards for new power plants? What role might such rules play in advancing the Administration’s climate change agenda? What impacts might such rules have on the broader energy market?