The Clean Power Plan (CPP), announced by President Obama in August 2015, set the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from U.S. power plants, the largest source of the pollution in the country.
Even though there were 18 states that defended the CPP, many believed the CPP exceeded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority under the Clean Air Act, which may be why 27 states, 24 trade associations, 37 rural electric co-ops, and three labor unions challenged the rule. Additionally, the Supreme Court issued an unprecedented stay of the rule, putting any efforts for the CPP to control carbon emissions on hold.
Subsequently, the EPA proposed a new rule to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing coal-fired electric utility generating units and power plants across the country. This proposal, entitled the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, establishes emission guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit GHGs at their power plants. The ACE Rule replaced the prior administration’s overly prescriptive and burdensome Clean Power Plan (CPP) and instead empowers states, promotes energy independence, and facilitates economic growth and job creation.
For the declining cool fired power industry in America the ACE Rule would work to reduce GHG emissions through four main actions:
1. ACE defines the “best system of emission reduction” (BSER) for existing power plants as on-site, heat-rate efficiency improvements;
2. 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;
3. ACE updates the New Source Review (NSR) permitting program to further encourage efficiency improvements at existing power plants; and
4. ACE aligns regulations under the CAA to give states adequate time and flexibility to develop their state plans.
EPA estimates that the ACE Rule could reduce 2030 CO2 emissions by up to 1.5% from projected levels without the CPP – the equivalent of taking 5.3 million cars off the road. Further, these illustrative scenarios suggest that when states have fully implemented the proposal, U.S. power sector CO2 emissions could be 33% to 34% below 2005 levels, higher than the projected CO2 emissions reductions from the CPP.
Renewables are progressing across the country as well as industry efforts toward carbon neutral operations to support air quality in a sustainable carbon economy and still meet our current lifestyles needs for 24/7 power.
Zero emission nuclear power capacity is on the rise as the world is steadily increasing its nuclear power generating capacity with more than 50 reactors currently under construction. China has launched the most aggressive nuclear program on the planet, with plans to add about 150 new nuclear reactors to its fleet, and about 300 more are proposed. Today there are about 450 nuclear reactors operating in 30 countries. Additionally, there are 140 nuclear powered ships that have accumulated 12,000 reactor years of “safe” marine operation.
Seems that energy companies are becoming carbon management companies to continue to provide the other “stuff” of chemicals and by-products from crude oil with affordable and reliable energy to support the 6,000 products from petroleum that are part of every infrastructure and virtually everything in our daily and leisurely lifestyles.
Constant energy efficiencies enhancements are occurring for the two prime movers that have done more for the cause of globalization than any other: the diesel engine and the jet turbine, both get their fuels from oil. Without transportation – there is no commerce. Road and air travel dominate most people’s lives.
Today, worldwide fuel consumption is astoundingly more than 600 million gallons of diesel fuels worldwide EVERY Day, and we have an airline industry that can take us anywhere in the world consuming more than 225 million gallons of aviation fuels EVERY DAY to move almost 10 million passengers and other things EVERY DAY. Consumption of both diesel and aviation fuels are increasing every year to support the growing numbers of planes and vehicles.
Cruise ships’ fuel consumption can be up to 3,000 gallons per hour, for each ship. Complimentary to the aviation and cruise liner industry are the billions of gallons of transportation fuels, also manufactured from crude oil, being consumed to get passengers back and forth from airports, ports, and hotels.
Though coal surely deserves much of the criticism that it gets, it has become the de facto standard for electricity generation worldwide. The reality is that coal – even with its many negative attributes – continues being the fuel of choice because it is abundant, low-cost and the over 1,600 new coal-fired power plants currently being built globally generate tremendous economic activity.
Hopefully, the Affordable Clean Energy program of the EPA will allow America to develop affordable and reliable carbon management technologies that can be shared with the world.