By Valerie VolcoviciWASHINGTON (.) – President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday announced final rules targeting carbon, air and water pollution from power plants that it says could cut over 1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2047.The Environmental Protection Agency rules form a crucial part of Biden’s broader agenda to fight climate change. The electricity sector responsible for nearly a quarter of U.S. greenhouse gas pollution, according to the EPA.”EPA is cutting pollution while ensuring that power companies can make smart investments and continue to deliver reliable electricity for all Americans,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said.The rules will effectively require coal-fired power plants and new natural gas-fired generators to install equipment in the coming decade to capture emissions before they reach the atmosphere. That requirement could make zero-emissions alternatives like solar and wind more attractive. Electric utilities have been bracing for a spike in demand from data centers powering technology like generative AI, as well as from the electric vehicles.The U.S. is projected this year to add more electric generation capacity than it has in two decades, with 96% being clean energy, White House climate adviser Ali Zaidi told reporters.Environmental groups praised the regulations, but they were slammed by some conservatives who called it an unjustified attempt to end fossil fuels use.”The age of unbridled climate pollution from power plants is over,” said Manish Bapna, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito, top Republican on the Senate environment committee, said she plans to introduce a resolution aiming to overturn the rules. 3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation . See disclosure here or
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.”President Biden has inexplicably doubled down on his plans to shut down the backbone of America’s electric grid through unachievable regulatory mandates,” she said. The rule is among several environmental initiatives the Biden administration has been racing to finish to help safeguard them from potential reversal should former President Donald Trump win the 2024 presidential election.Agency rules completed and in the Federal Register before May 22, 2024 will not be subject to the Congressional Review Act, a law that enables a new Congress to nullify recently enacted regulations with a simple majority.CARBON CAPTURE Among the changes the EPA made to the carbon rule before it was finalized was dropping hydrogen as a “best system of emission reduction” for gas plants to achieve the new standards. This leaves carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as the go-to technology for fossil fuel plants to cut emissions.Existing coal plants that plan to run past 2039 will be required to install such CCS technology starting in 2032. The EPA had initially proposed that its standards apply to plants that run more than 50% of the time. It broadened that requirement to include those running more than 40% of the time.The Edison Electric Institute, an investor-owned utility trade group, said it was worried by the rules.”CCS is not yet ready for full-scale, economy-wide deployment, nor is there sufficient time to permit, finance, and build the CCS infrastructure needed for compliance by 2032,” EEI President Dan Brouillette said.The EPA also said it has launched a process to get feedback on how to reduce carbon emissions from existing gas plants. The EPA had removed coverage of existing gas plants from the initial proposal last month and gave no new timeline for developing a rule to cover the current fleet.3rd party Ad. Not an offer or recommendation . See disclosure here or
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.In additional to greenhouse gases, the EPA rules cut mercury emissions limits for lignite coal plants by 70% and emissions limits associated with toxic metals by 67%, in the first update of mercury and toxic air pollutants standards since 2012. The rules would also eliminate 660 million pounds of pollution per year being discharged into U.S. waterways and protect communities from coal ash contamination, EPA said. TRANSMISSIONThe U.S. Energy Department unveiled complementary measures on Thursday aimed at making it easier for clean energy projects to connect to the grid.The Department said it will upgrade 100,000 miles of transmission lines over the next five years and finalized a rule aimed at making federal permitting of new transmission lines more efficient.Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said the DOE would also direct over $330 million to support a new 285-mile transmission line from Idaho to Nevada, which will bring 2,000MW transmission capacity to transmission-congested west.”We’re getting more power to more people in more places, with the urgency that Americans deserve,” she told reporters.