5 things to know about EPA's power plant rule

EPA-3D-resize-150x150

(AP) - Five things to know about the Obama administration's plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the chief greenhouse gas, from power plants.

HOW MUCH POLLUTION WILL IT REALLY CUT?

The proposal announced Monday calls for the nation's fossil-fuel fired power plants to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030. But Environmental Protection Agency data shows that the nation's power plants already have reduced carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 13 percent since 2005, or about halfway to the goal. The EPA also says the regulation will also reduce other pollutants that create lung-damaging smog and soot by more than 25 percent by 2030.

HOW DOES THIS COMPARE WITH OTHER ACTIONS ON GLOBAL WARMING TAKEN BY THIS ADMINISTRATION?

It turns out that Obama's fuel economy efforts cut a bigger chunk of the U.S.' greenhouse gas emissions. Obama tackled the emissions from the nation's cars and trucks, announcing rules to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by doubling fuel economy. That standard will reduce carbon dioxide by 6 billion tons over the life of vehicles covered by the program. The power plant proposal will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 5 billion tons from 2020-2030. Another proposal to cut pollution at newly built power plants will have little real-world impact because not many coal-fired power plants are scheduled to be built.

WHY POWER PLANTS?

Power plants are the largest source of the gases blamed for global warming, accounting for 38 percent of all greenhouse gases in the U.S, but there are no national limits on carbon pollution from power plants. About three-quarters of the power plant emissions are from coal-fired plants The average age today of the coal-fired generating fleet is 42 years, and 11 percent of units are more than 60 years old. By 2025, that average age will grow to 49, with 20 percent of units 60 years or older.

WILL IT MAKE A DENT IN GLOBAL WARMING?

A small one. The rule will push the U.S. closer to the 17 percent reduction from 2005 levels by 2020 it promised other countries at the start of Obama's presidency, but it will fall far short of the global reductions scientists say are needed to stabilize the planet's temperature. That's because U.S. fossil-fueled power plants only account for about 6 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. However, the administration is hoping this move shows other countries the U.S. is serious about the problem when it begins negotiations this fall toward a new, binding international treaty.

WHAT WILL IT MEAN FOR MY STATE?

It depends on where your state gets its power. The EPA customized emissions-reduction targets for each state based on their sources of electricity. Details on each state can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/1nIAKgp .

States will have to submit complete plans no later than June 2017 if they act alone, and no later than June 2018 if they work with other states. They can meet the goals by investing in energy-efficiency programs, expanding renewable energy, upgrading infrastructure and dispatching coal-fired power plants less or switching coal-fired plants to natural gas. They could even tax carbon dioxide emissions if they choose. Already 47 states have programs to boost efficiency and reduce demand for electricity, 38 have set targets for renewable energy, and 10 have programs that cap carbon emissions from power plants and allow them to trade pollution credits.

2014 Articles

Harvard Law School professor pays Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional

12/31/2014

Laurence H. Tribe, professor of constitutional law at Harvard University and former mentor to Barack Obama, said in an article last week that the EPA’s Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional.

3 SKorea workers die at nuke plant construction site

12/30/2014

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Three South Korean workers died Friday after apparently inhaling toxic gas at a construction site for a nuclear plant being built by South Korea's monopoly nuclear power company, which has come un...

UMaine in business of certifying turbine blades

12/30/2014

ORONO, Maine (AP) — The University of Maine has tested its largest wind turbine blade to date. UMaine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center completed static strength testing this month of a 184-foot-long wind turbine...

Mergers, EPA carbon plan generated much attention during 2014

12/29/2014

Mergers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Power Plan, cheap natural gas and the polar vortex were among the most noteworthy generation stories of 2014.

Developer opens Ohio review for 800-MW, gas-fired project

12/29/2014

Clean Energy Future-Lordstown LLC plans an 800-MW, gas-fired power project, and on Dec. 24 applied with the Ohio Power Siting Board for certain routine waivers it needs before filing a full siting application for this proj...

New England utility exec named to Vermont PSB

12/29/2014

A woman who worked for Vermont's Department of Public Service for 17 years is going to become the next member of the utility-regulating Public Service Board. The appointment of Sarah Hofmann was announced Monday by Gov. Pe...

Brown picks aide to lead troubled California utility board

12/29/2014

Gov. Jerry Brown named a former adviser on Tuesday to be the next head of California's troubled utilities commission, replacing a regulatory chief accused of back-channel dealings with utilities. Michael Picker, a former a...

Washington state carbon emissions dropped in 2011

12/29/2014

Greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state dropped by about 4.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, led by reductions in emissions from the electricity sector, according to the latest figures released by the state. The latest...

Group wants state regulators recused from PNM case

12/29/2014

State regulators in less than two weeks are to begin deliberating a proposal that calls for shutting down part of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico that serves more than 2 million customers in the ...

Vermont Yankee plant prepares to shut down

12/29/2014

The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is getting ready to shut down. Its owner, Entergy Corp., says it is closing the plant for economic reasons. The plant in Vernon is expected to disconnect from the regional power grid Monday.

PSEG Solar to acquire Maryland solar project from juwi

12/23/2014

PSEG Solar Source will acquire a 12.9-MW solar energy facility near Waldorf, Maryland from juwi solar (JSI). The PSEG Waldorf Solar Energy Center will increase the capacity of PSEG Solar Source's portfolio to 123-MW.

PG&E discloses more emails with state regulators

12/23/2014

California's largest power utility released a dozen more emails Monday that it said showed improper back-channel discussions between the utility and top state regulators.

Indianapolis airport solar farm expansion completed

12/23/2014

Contractors have finished bringing online dozens of acres of solar panels at Indianapolis International Airport, solidifying its status as the home of the nation's largest airport-based solar farm.

French power company to pay $772M in bribery case

12/23/2014

A French power and transportation company has agreed to pay $772 million to resolve allegations that it bribed high-ranking foreign government officials for lucrative projects, the Justice Department said Monday.

Nebraska nuclear plant back online after short outage

12/23/2014

The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant is back online less than a week after its main generator unexpectedly shut down as a precaution.

Ameren Missouri plans $135M in energy efficiency

12/23/2014

Missouri's largest electric company said Monday that it plans to invest $135 million in energy efficiency programs for customers over a three-year period.

TEPCO completes nuclear fuel assemblies removal from Fukushima 4

12/22/2014

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it has safely removed the fuel assemblies from the most damaged nuclear reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

B&W Vølund to build waste-to-energy power plant in Scotland

12/22/2014

In a consortium with Interserve, Babcock & Wilcox Co.’s (B&W, NYSE:BWC) subsidiary, Babcock & Wilcox Vølund A/S (B&W Vølund), will engineer, procure and construct (EPC) a waste-to-energy (WTE) power plant f...

SKorea holds N-plant drills against cyber threats

12/22/2014

South Korea's monopoly nuclear power company said it began drills Monday against possible cyberattacks after online threats of attack against its plants.

PSC approves solar power project

12/22/2014

The Public Service Commission has approved solar power project planned by Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas and Electric in Mercer County.

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

The Time is Right for Optimum Reliability: Capital-Intensive Industries and Asset Performance Management

Imagine a plant that is no longer at risk of a random shutdown. Imagine not worrying about losing...

Going Digital: The New Normal in Oil & Gas

In this whitepaper you will learn how Keystone Engineering, ONGC, and Saipem are using software t...

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Leveraging the Power of Information in the Energy Industry

Information Governance is about more than compliance. It’s about using your information to drive ...