Sep 20, 2013

EPA restrict greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants steps up shift from coal to natural gas in Wisconsin

Coal plants like the one We Energies built in recent years in Oak Creek won't be allowed in the future under a climate change rule the Environmental Protection Agency proposed Friday.

The EPA was given until Friday by President Barack Obama to draft a rule to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants.

The rule represents the administration's effort to tackle the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions -- coal-fired power plants. The Obama administration targeted the second-largest source of carbon pollution when it developed new fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for cars and trucks several years ago.

The rule essentially requires power plants to emit less carbon dioxide per unit of energy than Oak Creek and other new coal plants do.

New power plants will be required to meet a carbon dioxide limit of 1,000 to 1,100 pounds of COper megawatt-hour, depending on the type of plant. Here's how that compares with some of the newest plants built in Wisconsin, both erected by We Energies:

  • New Oak Creek coal plant: 1,986 pounds per mwh
  • Original Oak Creek coal plant (built in the 1950s and 1960s): 2,226 pounds per mwh
  • Port Washington natural gas-fired power plant: 831 pounds per mwh.

"Make no mistake about it, EPA's action today to address carbon pollution from new power plants is an important step forward in this clean energy journey," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at the National Press Club in Washington.  "And It's a necessary step to address a public health challenge that we cannot afford to avoid any longer."

Please continue reading at: