EPA delays finalizing New Source Performance Standard regulations

emissions

By Justin Martino, Associate Editor, Power Engineering magazine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has delayed finalizing its New Source Performance Standard regulations for new power plants, which many people have said would have ended the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the U.S.

The rule, which would have limited carbon dioxide emissions to 1,000 pounds per MWh, had a deadline of April 13 for being finalized. EPA spokeswoman Alisha Johnson said the agency is working on the rule and no timetable has been set for any revisions.

“We continue to review the more than 2 million comments we have received on the rule,” Johnson stated in an e-mail.

Although new natural gas-fired combined cycle plants would have been able to comply with the stricter standard, rising prices of natural gas and concerns about fleet diversity and the transmission infrastructure for natural gas has raised concerns for many companies in the power industry. New coal-fired power plants would not have been able to comply with the rule using current carbon capture and storage technology.

In addition, concerns had been raised from members of President Barack Obama’s party, with four Democratic senators writing a letter asking the president to amend the regulations to allow for the construction of coal-fired power plants. Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana requested Obama to urge the EPA to differentiate the standards based on fuel type and establish supercritical coal generation technology as the performance standard for new coal-based technology.

The rule was introduced in March 2012, while Lisa Jackson was serving as the EPA administrator, and was written by the agency’s Office of Air and Radiation. Gina McCarthy, the current head of that office, has been nominated to serve as the EPA’s administrator. Her nomination is currently being considered by the U.S. Senate.

McCarthy said during her confirmation hearing last week that she expects coal to remain an important part of the U.S. energy mix, and the EPA will give companies flexibility to make changes to comply with new emission standards affecting the power industry.

Despite the increase in stricter regulations for power plants in the U.S., coal remains the top source of fuel for electricity generation in the country. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, coal-power generation accounts for 39.9 percent of the power generation in the U.S., and the administration is expecting an increase in coal-fired generation over the next two years. In the administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2013, it projected that that coal consumption for energy production would increase by 0.1 percent per year from 2011 to 2040, with 6.1 GW of coal-fired capacity currently under construction being completed by the end of 2015.

The EIA’s most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook projected a 7.8 percent of increase in U.S. coal-fired power generation in 2013. Other sources have also reported an increase in coal usage as well, with Genscape’s Generation Fuel Monitoring Service reporting an increase of 21 percent of coal-fired power generation in March 2013 compared to March 2012.

Although the rule would not have affected existing coal-fired plants or plants currently under construction, multiple coal-fired power plants have recently been shuttered or had plans introduced to convert them to another fuel source. The EIA predicts 15 percent of the coal-fired power capacity active in 2011 will be retired by 2040, while only 4 percent of new generation added during that time period will be coal-fired units. Several planned coal-fired plants have been canceled recently, with executives from the White Stallion Energy Center in Texas citing proposed rules from the EPA as a major obstacle in construction new coal-fired generation.

Projects under development that are not being canceled are also being affected. Allied Energy Services recently said they were in a “dead sprint” to begin construction of the $2.1 billion Plant Washington in Georgia, which had already been delayed while developers waited for a final Mercury and Air Toxic Standard, before the NSPS is finalized.

Read more emissions regulation news

Sponsored by FLSmidth

Related Articles

 APPA chief calls EPA CO2 plan ‘simply unworkable’

APPA chief calls EPA CO2 plan ‘simply unworkable’

American Public Power Association (APPA) President and CEO Susan Kelly told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Feb. 19 that reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) is important but the current proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as currently drafted is not ready for prime time.

Energy study: EPA’s Clean Power Plan will not jeopardize reliability of U.S. power system

Energy study: EPA’s Clean Power Plan will not jeopardize reliability of U.S. power system

The design and implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan, which is intended to reduce the U.S. electric system’s CO2 emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, will not jeopardize or compromise the reliability of the U.S. power system, according to a study by Analysis Group energy experts.

Follow Power Engineering on Twitter

Latest News

Vermont raises concerns about nuclear plant decommissioning

Vermont is asking federal nuclear regulators to require the owner of the Vermont Yankee nucle...

Areva asks NRC to suspend nuclear reactor design review

Areva Inc. has asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to suspend its design certi...

Acciona Windpower opens wind tower production facility in Mexico

Acciona Windpower, a subsidiary of Acciona Group, completed construction on a concrete wind t...

Kentucky Senate passes new nuclear power plant bill

The Kentucky state Senate passed a bill that would end a moratorium on building new nuclear r...

Bills would guarantee dominance by 2 big Michigan utilities

Michigan would end 15 years of competition in the electricity market and its 10 percent renew...

SunEdison expands services to include energy storage

SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) has acquired the energy storage project origination team from Sol...
 Siemens announces new CEO, Power and Gas

Siemens announces new CEO, Power and Gas

Siemens (NYSE: SI) announced that Willi Meixner will serve as the chief executive officer (CE...

FPSC approves PPA for Chesapeake Utilities to receive energy from CHP facility

The Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) has approved a 20-year power purchase agreement ...

Power Engineering Current Issue

02/01/2015
Volume 119, Issue 2
1502PE-cover

Products Showcase

Dynamic Fluoride Ion cleaning DFIC of industrial natural gas turbines Hi-Tech Furnace Systems

Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning of IGT Parts

The Dynamic Fluoride Ion Cleaning (DFIC) Process from Hi-Tech Furnace Systems is able to clean deep, narrow cracks of oxides by cycling between negative, atmospheric, and positive pressure.

Archived Articles

2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Power Industry Wire News

Composers Make Con Edison Grants Sing

Composers Make Con Edison Grants Sing

US-Energy Company Announces Plans to Implement Renewable Energy Projects Throughout Sierra Leone

US-Energy Company Announces Plans to Implement Renewable Energy Projects Throughout Sie...

Verso Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2014 Results

Verso Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2014 Results

Dynamic Materials Comments on Delay in Issuing Fourth Quarter and Year-End Earnings Release; New Earnings Release and Conference Call Date Set for March 16, 2014

Dynamic Materials Comments on Delay in Issuing Fourth Quarter and Year-End Earnings Rel...

U.S. Southeast Home to More Than $10 Billion in Project Starts in Second-Quarter 2015, an Industrial Info News Alert

U.S. Southeast Home to More Than $10 Billion in Project Starts in Second-Quarter 2015, ...

Power Engineering

Article Archives for Power Engineering Magazine

Continuing Education

Professional Development Hours

To access a course listing associated to a specific topic listed below, click on the topic of choice from the list below.

Latest Energy Jobs

View more Job Listings >>