The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today proposed Clean Air Act standards to cut carbon pollution from new power plants. In addition, EPA has initiated broad-based outreach and direct engagement with state, tribal, and local governments, industry and labor leaders, non-profits, and others to establish carbon pollution standards for existing power plants and build on state efforts to move toward a cleaner power sector. Today's proposal is in response to President Obama's June 25 memorandum to EPA on "Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards," a major part of his Climate Action Plan.
Under today's proposal, new large natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, and would have the option to meet a somewhat tighter limit if they choose to average emissions over multiple years, giving those units additional operational flexibility.
According to EPA's press release on the matter, "These proposed standards will ensure that new power plants are built with available clean technology to limit carbon pollution, a requirement that is in line with investments in clean energy technologies that are already being made in the power industry. Additionally, these standards provide flexibility by allowing sources to phase in the use of some of these technologies, and they ensure that the power plants of the future use cleaner energy technologies -- such as efficient natural gas, advanced coal technology, nuclear power, and renewable energy like wind and solar."
The agency is seeking comment and information on today's proposal, including holding a public hearing, and will take that input fully into account as it completes the rulemaking process. EPA's comment period will be open for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. In a separate action, EPA is rescinding the April 2012 proposal.
Separately, EPA has initiated outreach to a wide variety of stakeholders that will help inform the development of emission guidelines for existing power plants. EPA says it intends to work closely with the states to ensure strategies for reducing carbon pollution from existing sources "are flexible, account for regional diversity, and embrace common sense solutions, allowing the United States to continue utilizing every fuel source available."
In accordance with the June 25 Presidential Memorandum, EPA will issue proposed standards for existing power plants by June 1, 2014.
Learn more about EPA's carbon pollution standards.