EPA Power Plant Rule
The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed power plant rule threatens electric cooperatives’ ability to provide reliable, affordable electricity to their members.
Threatening Reliable Energy
American families and businesses expect the lights to stay on at a price they can afford. But that’s no longer a guarantee. Nine states saw rolling blackouts last December. As NERC noted in numerous recent reports, the reliability of the grid is already in jeopardy.
On May 23, 2023, the EPA released its long-anticipated draft rules aimed at both new and existing coal and natural gas power plants.
EPA’s proposal is the wrong plan at a critical time for our nation’s energy future. It will reduce available generation resources just as we are increasing our reliance on electricity to power more of the economy. EPA needs to recognize the impact this proposal will have on the future of reliable energy before it’s too late.
Where We Stand
On Aug. 8, 2023, NRECA filed comments in opposition to EPA’s proposed rule to further regulate power plant emissions. The agency is expected to publish the final rule in the spring of 2024.
NRECA urged the agency to withdraw the proposal in its entirety and pointed out the following issues:
• The proposal hinges on the widespread adoption of nascent technologies: clean hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. Electric cooperatives are involved in the development of five carbon capture projects and are national leaders in the development of the technology. And while both technologies are promising, they are not yet widespread or commercially available and have not been “adequately demonstrated” as required by the Clean Air Act. Requirements for some coal units to co-fire natural gas are similarly flawed.
• The proposal violates the Clean Air Act because EPA asserts vast new authority of major economic and political significance without a clear statement from Congress. This disregards the “major questions doctrine” and is inconsistent with the text, structure, and context of Clean Air Act Section 111.
• The proposed rules contain timelines that are unrealistic and unachievable. The compliance deadlines endanger new and existing natural gas plants and all but ensure coal units will opt to shut down by 2035. The requisite infrastructure cannot be expected to be in place due to cost, supply chain challenges, permitting, public opposition, land ownership/access, and more.
• The proposed rules threaten reliability and affordability.
NRECA Comments to the EPA (Aug. 8, 2023)
NRECA Comments on Power Plant Rule Supplemental Notice (Dec. 20, 2023)
NRECA Press Release (Aug. 8, 2023)
Video Series: Real World Impact
Leaders of two generation and transmission cooperatives spoke with NRECA about why EPA’s power plant proposals are unrealistic and jeopardize reliable, affordable electricity. Watch both videos here.
- U.S. Grids Face Greater Risks as Generators Retire, Demand Rises (Reuters)
- Top Power Grid Watchdog Warns Fossil Fuel Shutdowns Could Destabilize Future Reliability (Fox Business)
- Dangerous Winter Blackouts Could Affect More Than Half of U.S., Report Finds (CBS News)
- Nation at Risk of Winter Blackouts as Power Grid Remains Under Strain (Washington Post)
- Biden’s Green Hydrogen Plan Hits Climate Obstacle: Water Shortage (Bloomberg)
- There’s a Lot of Talk About Hydrogen’s Potential. But Transportation Costs Represent a Big Challenge (CNBC)
- EPA Says Carbon Capture Is Within Reach. Utilities Aren’t Biting (E&E News)
In the August 2023 episode of NRECA's Along Those Lines podcast, Ashley Slater, NRECA’s vice president for regulatory affairs, discusses EPA's proposed power plant rule and the electric cooperative response.
NRECA News Coverage
Header Photo: Brad McLaughlin/Getty Images