Advancing Sensible Standards to Control a Major Source of Carbon Pollution
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, September 23, 2013, 03:28 PM EDT
Ned Helme, president of the Center for Clean Air Policy, offered the following comment about the Environmental Protection Agency’s reproposed standards for new base load power plants:
“We should all feel reassured that EPA has met the President’s target date for reproposing the greenhouse gas standard for new power plants. This puts the new source proposal on solid legal footing. EPA can now move forward without delay to engage stakeholders in crafting guidance to states for setting meaningful and flexible standards that will lower carbon pollution from existing power plants. With power plants accounting for 40 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, this rule offers a vital opportunity to set the country and the world on a path toward a lower carbon future.
The Clean Air Act offers a sensible, system-based approach to lowering emissions from the electric power sector that makes use of the full set of mitigation actions. Rather than being limited to measures that boost efficiency at the power plant itself, a system-based approach would also include shifting away from inefficient coal-fired electric generation toward lower-emitting and more efficient natural gas combined cycle units and zero-emitting energy sources. In fact, in 2011, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that there is sufficient surplus natural gas combined cycle generating capacity to replace roughly one-third of U.S. coal generation, reducing CO2 emissions from the power sector by 20 percent. McKinsey & Co. has estimated there are 50.4 gigawatts (GW) of cost-effective combined heat and power (CHP) that can be deployed by 2020. CHP is a technology in which heat and power are produced together in a single boiler with greater overall efficiencies than when heat and power are produced separately.
Reasonable and flexible carbon pollution standards for power plants will reduce the primary cause of climate change, which threatens public health and fuels extreme weather. These standards will create new demand for low carbon electric generation and a new revenue source for low carbon electric technologies that would help move the energy sector on a lower carbon trajectory. Technologies like CHP will result in lower energy costs for consumers. For industrial sources and communities, this will translate into improved economic competitiveness, increased production and more jobs and economic growth.”
Since 1985, the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) has been a recognized world leader in climate and air quality policy and is the only independent, nonprofit think tank working exclusively on those issues at the local, U.S. national and international levels. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., CCAP helps policymakers around the world develop, promote and implement innovative, market-based solutions to major climate, air quality and energy problems that balance both environmental and economic interests.