EPA hits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants

03-26-2012 // Eric Martinson - Politico

This excerpt is from Politico

The Obama administration is moving ahead with its greenhouse gas rule for new power plants, a regulation that promises to shift the future of U.S. power generation.

EPA will announce the rule Tuesday, a senior administration official confirmed to POLITICO.

The proposed regulation in essence means that new coal-fired power plants will have to capture their carbon dioxide emissions — either for storage or, in many cases, to send the CO2 to oil and gas drilling operations where it can be used to help extract fossil fuels.

The rule will have a phase-in period, sources knowledgeable of the rule say, so that coal plants that are ready to build may move forward.

But beyond that, the rule means that coal-fired power plants as they exist now will not be built in the future.

The standard will generally require that new power plants emit CO2 at a rate no greater than that of a natural-gas-fired power plant. Such plants emit about 60 percent less greenhouse gases than coal plants.

The only coal plant to break ground during the Obama administration is a carbon capture and sequestration plant — Southern Co.'s Kemper County plant in Mississippi.

Supporters of the policy say the EPA is simply locking in the current market forces that heavily favor the construction of natural gas facilities, and providing a certain path for utility investors.

“It shows that the future of electricity is in adopting low polluting, climate smart technologies,” said Joe Mendelson, director of global warming policy at the National Wildlife Federation.

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