EPA Issues Coal Plants Ultimatum: Capture CO2 Or Shut Down

EPA Issues Coal Plants Ultimatum: Capture CO2 Or Shut Down - Carbon Herald
Photo by Curioso Photography on Unsplash

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just announced its new rules that will require coal power plants to either capture their CO2 emissions or shut down.

Some see the drastic measure as one of the most potent regulations to be imposed to date. 

Under the new regulations from the EPA, all existing coal-fired power plants and all new natural-gas power plants that are active over 40% of the time will be obligated to slash 90% of their CO2 emissions. 

Relevant: Rocky Mountain Power To Retrofit A Coal Plant With Carbon Capture, A High Cost For Taxpayers

Coal plants will have until 2032 to comply with the new standard, according to the EPA, or they will no longer be able to operate after 2039. 

A similar rule is expected to emerge from the agency for all existing natural gas-fired power plants, however, some environmentalists believe that is unlikely to take place prior to the November election. 

The EPA has also issued a number of other regulations aimed at coal plants, such as those that address the issues of water pollution, as well as the levels of mercury and other toxins from the coal burning process. 

Environmentalists welcome the new regulations

Naturally, news of the EPA’s regulations was largely well received by most environmental groups, who see them as a major step forward on the path to shifting away from fossil fuels. 

“This is a big deal. This ends the age of unlimited carbon emissions from power plants,” said Manish Bapna, president and chief executive of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

However, others were far less optimistic about the EPA’s decision. 

Relevant: Rockefeller Foundation Supports Carbon Credits Mechanism For Phasing Out Coal Project

Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, bashed the agency’s new rules by saying: “The path outlined by the EPA today is unlawful, unrealistic and unachievable.”

Matheson voiced arguments against the harsh regulations that are echoed throughout the energy sector, such as the lack of trust in carbon capture, its high costs and the very short deadline given to coal plants by the EPA.

Recognizing the need for flexibility in emergencies, the EPA included provisions in the new rule that allow power plants to temporarily bypass certain regulations to ensure continued electricity supply to the grid.

2 comments
    1. Hey Simon,
      – Press release is indeed the one you linked to
      – Utilities do feel the 2032 deadline to adopt carbon capture and/or shutter by 2039 is short. From what we understand industry organizations like NRECA and EEI plan to challenge it in court:
      https://www.electric.coop/unlawful-unrealistic-unachievable-epa-releases-barrage-of-power-plant-rules
      https://www.eei.org/News/news/All/eei-statement-on-epa-package-of-final-rules-for-power-plants

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