In June 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a rule to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. EIA’s newly released analysis of the proposed rule shows power sector CO2 emissions falling to about 1,500 million metric tons per year by 2025, a level not seen since the early 1980s, in the Base Policy case.
The goal of the proposed Clean Power Plan rule is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing electricity generation units that burn fossil fuels. EPA’s proposed rule specifies interim state-level compliance targets for 2020 through 2029 and final compliance targets for 2030 that are maintained thereafter. The targets are expressed in terms of emissions from affected units divided by affected generation.
However, because the affected generation (i.e., the compliance formula denominator) used for compliance calculations includes generation from specified non-emitting sources, as well as reductions in load resulting from energy efficiency programs, the targets are not simple emissions rates. The emission rates used for compliance take into account emissions and generation from existing fossil-fired plants, as well as existing nonhydro renewable generation, all new renewable generation, 6% of existing nuclear generation plus nuclear generation from plants under construction, and contributions from energy efficiency programs that reduce electricity sales.