Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Combined Cycle, Emissions

California PUC issues interim GHG rules

26 January 2007 — The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted an interim greenhouse gas (GHG) standard that will prohibit coal-fired electricity imports, which currently make up about 20 percent of the state’s energy supply.

The PUC’s actions implement Senate Bill (SB) 1368, which prohibits load-serving entities (investor-owned utilities, energy service providers, community choice aggregators) from entering into long-term financial commitments for baseload generation unless it complies with a GHG emissions performance standard.

The Emissions Performance Standard is a facility-based emissions standard requiring that all new long-term commitments for baseload generation to serve California consumers be with power plants that have emissions no greater than a combined cycle gas turbine plant. That level is established at 1,100 pounds of CO2 per MWh.

The rule prohibits new construction, large investment in existing baseload plants, and new or renewal contracts with a term of five year or more. The interim rule is aimed at coal-fired facilities outside of California that export electricity into the state. There are no large-scale coal power plants in use in California at this time.

The adopted emissions performance standard is intended to serve as a near-term bridge until an enforceable load-based GHG emissions limit is established and in operation. At that time, as directed by SB 1368, the commission will reevaluate and continue, modify, or replace this standard in consultation with the California Energy Commission and the California Air Resources Board.