New York State Proposes New Carbon Dioxide Standards for Major Electric Generating Facilities

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has proposed new regulations that would impact major electric generating power plants.  The new regulations seek to establish carbon dioxide emission standards for non-modified existing major electric generating facilities, while leaving in place the standards for new and modified facilities. This regulation would amend Part 251 and Part 200 of the NYCRR.

More specifically, 6 NYCRR § 251.3(b) would be changed to require non-modified major electricity generators to meet an emission rate of 1800 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour gross of electrical output or 180 pounds of carbon dioxide per million Btu of input for each fossil fuel combusted beginning December 31, 2020.  Also as of that date, owners cannot fire a single fossil fuel alone or in combination with any other fuel that is in excess of 1800 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of gross electrical output or 180 pounds of carbon dioxide per million Btu of input.

The purpose behind the new regulation is to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions in order to help battle climate change. The proposed regulations would be working alongside the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and carbon dioxide budget trading program in order to decrease the output of carbon dioxide in New York State and battle climate change. This regulation is expected to assist in meeting the Governor’s goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions 40% by 2030. The goal is to see fossil fuel major electric generators move to clean fuel or close down by 2020. The DEC held stakeholder meetings back in August of 2017 about these proposed changes. Comments and concerns were integrated into this proposed rule. In terms of the costs of the proposed regulation, coal burning major electric generators would need to install some sort of emission controls, such as carbon capture and storage in order to meet the new requirements of the regulation. Natural gas and oil fired units would be able to meet the new requirements without emissions controls. The DEC considered several alternate options including taking no action and having different limits before settling on this proposed rule.

The DEC is accepting comments to the proposed regulation until 5 PM on July 29, 2018. All comments should be directed to Laura Stevens in the Division of Air Resources in Albany via mail or email at air.regs@dec.ny.gov.

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