New Power Plant Regulations
Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed a greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation for new power plants that would substantially limit the sources of energy available to power U.S. homes and business. The first in a suite of impending GHG regulations, this rule would effectively ban the construction of new coal-fired power plants in the United States by requiring them to be equipped with carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) systems. While CCS is a promising technology, it is prohibitively expensive and is not in use at a single commercial-scale power plant in the country.
Existing Power Plant Regulations
In the second suite of GHG regulations released June 2, 2014, the EPA proposed GHG regulations for existing power plants. Unlike the new power plants regulation, the existing power plants regulation will impact plants that are already supplying electricity to homes and businesses throughout the country. The United States and Midwestern states rely on fossil fuels for a majority of the electricity that keeps the lights on in our homes and businesses and powers the economy. This regulation threatens to shut down many of the plants that produce this low-cost, reliable electricity.
Modified and Reconstructed Plant Regulations
In addition to regulating new and existing power plants, on June 2, 2014, the EPA proposed GHG regulations for modified and reconstructed power plants.
Impact of EPA Regulations
An analysis from the National Economic Research Associates (NERA) estimates that a National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) proposal, similar to EPA proposals, could cost consumers $13 billion to $17 billion per year in higher electricity and natural gas prices. Ratepayers in most states could face double digit electricity price increases. Natural gas prices could increase by as much as 16 percent, costing families and businesses up to $54 billion more between 2018 and 2033. NERA also found that such a proposal could cause job losses as high as 2.85 million. A new U.S. Chamber study also analyzes the impacts of the NRDC proposal and the Obama Administration’s announced GHG reduction goals.