New Affordable Clean Energy Rule Provides States with Guidelines for Regulating Coal-Fired Power Plant Emissions

Jun 28, 2019

The Trump administration recently released its finalized new set of carbon emissions regulations for coal-fired power plants. The regulations fall under the new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which will replace the Clean Power Plan (CPP). The ACE rule provides states with new emission guidelines that will inform their development of standards of performance to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing coal-fired power plants in a manner that is consistent with Environmental Protection Agency’s role as defined in the Clean Air Act. According to the Administration, when ACE is fully implemented, U.S. power sector CO2 emissions will fall by as much as 35 percent below 2005 levels.

States have three years to submit their plans on how they will reduce emissions. Based on the ACE rule, these cuts are expected to come primarily through encouraging coal-fired power plants to improve their efficiency. The guidelines included in the ACE rule is intended to help increase the amount of power produced in relation to the amount of coal that is burned. To help improve this efficiency, the rule provides a list of six “candidate technologies” plants can use.

This ACE rule has been a long time coming. Last summer, ASME reported about the EPA’s initial proposal for the new rule, noting at the time that the EPA sought to combat emissions through 4 key actions:

  • ACE defines the “best system of emission reduction” (BSER) for existing power plants as on-site, heat-rate efficiency improvements;
  • ACE provides states with a list of “candidate technologies” that can be used to establish standards of performance and be incorporated into their state plans;
  • ACE updates the New Source Review (NSR) permitting program to further encourage efficiency improvements at existing power plants; and
  • ACE aligns regulations under CAA section 111(d) to give states adequate time and flexibility to develop their state plans.

For more information regarding the Affordale Clean Energy Rule.