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U.S. Power Sector Criticizes Biden’s Emissions Reduction Plan

The top group of utilities in the United States does not believe that the Biden Administration’s proposed rules on reducing emissions from natural gas and coal-fired power plants would work because the new technologies intended to cut emissions are expensive and not proven at adequate performance levels at scale.    

Earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed new standards on carbon emissions from coal and natural gas-fired power plants as the Biden Administration continues with its efforts to decarbonize the economy and the grids.

EPA proposes to establish emission guidelines for large, frequently used existing fossil fuel-fired stationary combustion turbines, generally natural gas-fired, as well as to strengthen the current New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for newly built fossil fuel-fired stationary combustion turbines.

The proposal limiting how much greenhouse gases fossil fuel power plants can emit would mean that plants currently not complying with the proposed limits would either have to shut down or install new equipment to curb emissions.

According to EPA, the proposal for coal and new natural gas power plants would avoid up to 617 million metric tons of total carbon dioxide (CO2) through 2042. This would be equivalent to reducing the annual emissions of 137 million passenger vehicles, roughly half the cars in the United States.

The proposed rules have been criticized by the U.S. utilities and by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which said this week in comments filed in response to the EPA proposal, “As we outline in these comments, electric companies are not confident that the new technologies EPA has designated to serve as the basis for proposed standards for new and existing fossil-based generation will satisfy performance and cost requirements on the timelines that EPA projects.”

“This will impact electric companies’ efforts to deliver affordable and reliable electricity to customers,” said the EEI, the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies.  

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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