Friday, September 20, 2013

Coal Hearted Update: EPA Unveils Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants

Posted By on Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 11:23 AM

In the current issue of Boise Weekly, we chronicle Idaho Power's dependency on coal-powered plants. While the state's largest utility has no coal-burning plants in Idaho, the utility company does own a portion of three coal-burning facilities in Nevada, Oregon and Wyoming.

Additionally, Idaho power has been using more power generated from its natural gas generation near Mountain Home and its new $400 million Langley Gulch natural gas power plant in Payette County.

This summer, Idaho Power set new record power usage levels among its residential and commercial customers, pushing the utility's load capacities to never-before-seen levels.

This morning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed new Clean Air Act standards in an effort to curb carbon pollution from new power plants.

Under today’s proposal, new large natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, while new small natural gas-fired turbines would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour. New coal-fired units would need to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour, and would have the option to meet a somewhat tighter limit if they choose to average emissions over multiple years, giving those units additional operational flexibility.

“These standards will also spark the innovation we need to build the next generation of power plants, helping grow a more sustainable clean energy economy," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

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