Obama Admin. Issues Carbon Limits for Power Plants

The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new regulations today limiting the amount of carbon emissions that newly-created power plants must adhere to.

(Reuters) - The Obama administration proposed on Tuesday the first rules to cut carbon dioxide emissions from new U.S. power plants, a move hotly contested by Republicans and industry in an election year.

The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal would effectively stop the building of most new coal-fired plants in an industry that is moving rapidly to more natural gas. But the rules will not regulate existing power plants, the source of one third of U.S. emissions, and will not apply to any plants that start construction over the next 12 months.

ThinkProgress has more detail.

The proposed rule — years in the making and approved by the White House after months of review — will require any new power plant to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt of electricity produced. The average U.S. natural gas plant, which emits between 800 and 850 pounds of CO2 per megawatt, meets that standard; coal plants emit an average of 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt.

The new rules may not be as strict as some would prefer, however energy demands are only going to continue to go up, not down. These regulations mean the next generation of power plants built to meet greater demand will be cleaner and will more than likely not be coal-fired because of the added costs of capturing and storing emissions from burning coal.

This does not outlaw Big Coal starting tomorrow, as that would be economically and politically suicidal anyway, but the industry is certainly being shown the door.

Mitch McConnell's head will explode in 5... 4... 3...

  • http://www.osborneink.com OsborneInk

    Given that 150 new coal plants have been nixed in the last decade by state and local governments, while exactly ZERO have been built, you would expect that coal no longer keeps the lights on the way it used to — and you’d be right, because the total proportion of electricity from coal dropped below 50% for the first time ever in 2009 and continues to slide.

    • agrazingmoose

      True. And this is a good start towards regulating the remaining plants. Fingers crossed.