EPA Proposes Less Stringent Emission Standards for New Coal Plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a proposed rule to weaken the new source performance standard (NSPS) establishing CO2 emission standards for new coal-fired power plants.
The original NSPS, issued in 2015, would have required new coal-fired power plants to limit their CO2 emissions to 1,400 pounds per megawatt-hour of generation. This standard reflected EPA’s determination that the “best system of emissions reduction” (BSER) for new plants would include partial carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) — specifically, that the power plants would capture and store 16-23% of CO2 emissions, depending on the coal type.
The proposal would increase the NSPS for coal plants to 1,900 pounds CO2 per MWh for larger units and 2,000 pounds CO2 per MWh for smaller units. EPA is justifying this increase based on its determination that partial CCS is not an adequately demonstrated technology which can be considered part of the BSER.