From: Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published December 12, 2012 08:40 AM

NRDC’s Plan To Reduce Power Plant Emissions

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a proposal to reduce power plant pollution by 26 percent by 2020 and 34 percent by 2025. The plan's key component is that the EPA, partnering with states, would set new carbon pollution standards under the Clean Air Act. The benefits of the plan, if carried out, outweigh the costs by 15 times as much. The price tag in 2020 would be $4 billion, but benefits would be $25 to 60 billion, six to 15 times greater than the costs.

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The plan piggybacks on the EPA proposed standards to limit the carbon pollution from new power plants. In April 2012, the EPA proposed the Carbon Pollution Standard for New Power Plants under Section 111(b) which requires that new plants can only emit 1,000 pounds of carbon per megawatt hour (lbs/mWh). Coal plants usually emit about 2,100 lbs./mWh and natural gas 1,000 lbs/mWh or less.

The EPA has not yet done anything to reduce emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants. The NRDC labels generating power plants the "largest industrial source of pollution." Generating power plants emit about 2.4 billion tons of carbon a year, about 40 percent of the total emissions in the U.S. Reducing pollution from generating power plants is a good way to tackle the problem of climate change.

There are two key parts to the NRDC proposal:

- The EPA would set state-specific emissions rates. The emissions standard for each state would be an overall emission rate average of all fossil fuel plants in the state.

- Power plant owners and states would have broad flexibility to meet standards in the most cost effective way.

Article continues at ENN affiliate, Triple Pundit

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