On August 3, EPA released its final rule implementing the Climate Action Plan focused on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions – carbon dioxide or CO2, from power plants. While CO2 is naturally occurring, EPA reports that power plants account for 32 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from anthropogenic sources.
The plan phases in CO2 reduction requirements, with a 32 percent reduction required by 2030, equivalent to emissions from about 166 million automobiles. About 1,000 power plants across the United States are affected by the rule. EPA states the rule will lower electricity costs by $7.00 per month for most power customers. Lost power generation from plants that will be required to be shut down by the rule is to be made up through solar, wind, hydropower, and nuclear power generation. EPA expects the rule to cost over $8 billion to implement, stating that mitigation of climate change will result in benefits of over $20 billion. EPA states that 3,600 premature deaths will be avoided by reducing CO2 emissions by the approximate 1/3 reduction required by the rule.
The rule is not without controversy. Some commenters have disagreed with EPA’s assessment of benefits, and have raised concern regarding the ability of renewables to fulfill the role of the baseload plants which will no longer be permitted to operate under the new rules. Issues exist regarding reliability of the electric grid, regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rather than EPA.
More information on the rule can be found at http://www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan.
For further information or discussion, contact Phillip Hoover.