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Since the US Congress can’t, or won’t, regulate greenhouse gases, President Obama is moving ahead to do so using his executive powers and the existing Clean Air Act. The US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed revised greenhouse gas “New Source” performance standards for power plants, which become stricter with time. The EPA received more than 2.5 million comments on last year’s draft of these standards, and is again inviting comments on the new draft.

EPA is proposing two sets of carbon pollution standards: one for fossil fuel fired (coal) utility boilers and integrated gas combined cycle units (IGCC) and one for natural gas fired stationary combustion units. For natural gas fired units, the EPA is proposing separate standards for “larger units” (greater than 850mmBtu/hr) and smaller units (less than or equal to 850mmBtu/hr). The proposed limits for new natural gas fired units are as follows:

– 1,000 lb CO2/MWh gross for larger units (> 850 mmBtu/hr)
– 1,100 lb CO2/MWh gross for smaller units (< 850 mmBtu/hr)

For coal-fired units, the EPA is again proposing a standard that becomes stricter over time and will require some degree of carbon capture. The standards for utility boiler and IGCC units are proposed to be:
– 1,100 lb CO2/MWh gross over a 12-operating month period, or
– 1,000-1,050 lb CO2/MWh gross over an 84-operating month (7-year) period

Canada continues to lag behind, saying that we will match whatever the US eventually does.

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