The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed revised New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for greenhouse gas emissions provide a path forward for commercially viable, advanced coal technology to reduce emissions and support a diverse, reliable and affordable electricity supply, the National Mining Association (NMA) has said.
“The proposed standard for new coal plants represents smart energy policy by preserving the optionality, diversity and security in our nation’s power supply with the use of more efficient, demonstrated coal technologies,” said Hal Quinn, NMA President and CEO.
“EPA’s proposed revision corrects a glaring example of counterproductive regulatory overreach from the last administration. The current standard accepts only carbon capture and sequestration – technology that is promising but not yet demonstrated and available on a broad, commercial scale. In doing so, it purposefully excluded the wide range of advanced coal technologies that are being deployed successfully elsewhere around the world to reduce emissions, but were effectively outlawed here in the US.”
The 2015 NSPS aimed to make it all but impossible to build a new coal plant in the USA. The standard established partial carbon capture and storage (CCS) along with supercritical pulverized coal as the best system of emission reduction (BSER). At the time of the rule-making, no end-to-end CCS technologies had been demonstrated at scale for coal-fired baseload electricity generation. This technology was unviable and its cost exorbitant and unreasonable. CCS should have been disqualified as BSER for baseload power plants. Its inclusion for coal-based electricity generating units was arbitrary and unreasoned.
At the time of the rulemaking, NMA argued that EPA should adopt a sound and balanced standard aligned with emission performance of new, highly efficient supercritical and integrated gasification combined cycle technologies. These technologies were proven, commercially offered and capable of achieving real and substantial emissions reductions 20% lower than the average emissions rates of subcritical plants that dominate the current coal fleet.