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EPA Releases White Paper For Comment On Reducing Climate Pollution From New Natural Gas-Fired Electric Generation

On April 21, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued for public input a draft white paper on control techniques and measures that could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new stationary combustion turbines.

These turbines, which are currently projected to be a significant part of U.S. electricity generation in future years, primarily use natural gas to create electricity.

The draft white paper is an important step forward in EPA’s efforts to engage communities and the power sector on strategies to improve clean air and reduce climate pollution in the years ahead.

“As part of our comprehensive power sector strategy announced by Administrator Regan last month, this white paper is intended to advance EPA’s work to cut greenhouse gas emissions and amplify the leadership that we are seeing from power companies, states, investors, communities and other organizations,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Joseph Goffman. “This is an important dialogue to have now, as we tackle our climate and health goals to protect communities while ensuring clean, reliable and affordable electricity.”

Recent Energy Information Administration (EIA) projections show the power sector is likely to continue investing in new stationary combustion turbines – both combined cycle and simple cycle turbines.

With the draft white paper, EPA plans to engage with the states, Tribes, communities, power sector leaders, the public, and other stakeholders about the applicability and feasibility of a wide range of potential mitigation options for GHG pollution from new stationary combustion turbines.

The draft white paper presents information on the performance of state-of-the-art combustion turbine technologies and describes additional opportunities for GHG emission cuts.

Specifically, the draft white paper discusses the potential of efficiency improvements; of firing or co-firing natural gas with alternative fuels such as hydrogen; of using carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology; and of co-location with energy storage, among other topics.

While the white paper doesn’t set policy or establish performance standards, it helps inform a robust public dialogue on approaches to reduce climate pollution from new gas-fired turbines.

Although the white paper is not targeted to any specific regulatory or policy context, EPA anticipates that the white paper may be useful to inform future rulemaking efforts, to serve as a resource for states and a variety of stakeholders, and to initiate a broader conversation on the future of natural gas-fired power generating sources. 

The information may assist states and local air pollution control agencies, Tribal authorities, and regulated entities in their consideration of technologies and measures that may be implemented to reduce GHG emissions from stationary combustion turbines.

The discussion of technologies and measures in this paper may also provide context for permit development under the prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) program of the Clean Air Act, including in the assessment of the best available control technology (BACT) for GHG emissions from stationary combustion turbines. 

States and the public may also find the white paper useful to inform state-level actions to combat climate change and individual permitting considerations.

 In addition, EPA anticipates the public dialogue on the draft will help inform the Agency’s ongoing review of the Clean Air Act section 111(b) new source performance standard for new natural gas-fired stationary combustion turbine electric utility generating units.

The draft white paper and instructions on how to submit comments are available on EPA’s website.

EPA is asking for public comment for 45 days, through June 6, 2022.

EPA will collect comments via a non-regulatory docket at www.regulations.gov, Docket ID: EPA-HQ-OAR-2022-0289.

[Posted: April 21, 2022]


4/25/2022

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