EPA Publishes Proposed Replacement to Clean Power Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule for regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants which would replace the Clean Power Plan.

The proposed rule, the “Affordable Clean Energy” rule, is much less stringent than the Clean Power Plan and would give the states wide latitude in deciding how to regulate emissions from power plants. It defines the “best system of emissions reduction” (BSER) for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants as on-site, heat-rate efficiency improvements (often referred to as control measures that can be implemented “within the fence line” of regulated power plants). This definition excludes fuel switching and improvements to demand-side energy efficiency.

The proposed rule would then establish emission guidelines for states based on this BSER. Rather than setting numeric emission reduction targets for each state (as EPA did with the Clean Power Plan), EPA’s emission guidelines would consist of a list of “candidate technologies” that can be used to establish standards of performance and incorporated into state plans. States would then have the discretion to determine which technologies are appropriate for each power plant and to establish corresponding performance standards.

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on August 31, 2018. Comments are due October 30, 2018.