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APPA's Pugh offers advice on preparing now for regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants


From the June 26, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published June 26, 2014

In response to the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, public power utilities should set up meetings (or continue to meet) with state environmental regulators and other state officials, APPA Director of Environmental Services Theresa Pugh told attendees at APPA’s National Conference. At those meetings, public power officials should discuss their utility and the state-wide reduction targets and what that would mean in terms of electricity costs, additional renewables, and energy efficiency inside the fenceline and outside the fenceline (with customers), she said at the June 17 session. The meetings also should cover the state officials’ ability to meet their obligations administratively by 2016.

In discussing what utilities should do now, Pugh also advised them to meet state environmental regulators and state energy officers about operational and potential reliability issues associated with implementation of the proposed rule. She urged utilities to meet with state economic development agencies and local officials to discuss the potential economic impacts for factories and population growth concerns.

Utilities should look at what changes in dispatch of generation resources would mean and whether it would prevent a unit from running, Pugh said. If a utility wants to build a natural gas-fired power plant, determine whether it would be permitted, with an eye on the effect on meeting EPA's nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions limits, she advised. It isn't always a slam dunk to replace a coal plant with natural gas units, she noted.

Public power utilities also should get involved in the public policy debate over the proposed rule by speaking at EPA public hearings on the proposal, filing comments on the proposed rule with EPA, and helping APPA identify major issues for the association’s comments on the proposed rule, Pugh said. 
 

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