New York To Issue Its Own Global Warming Rules For Power Plants

Jason Hopkins | Energy Investigator

New York government officials are proposing new environmental regulations that would essentially close the curtain on remaining coal plants operating in the state.

On Wednesday, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation offered tough regulations that would further limit the amount of CO2 power plants can emit into the atmosphere. Specifically, plants would be restricted to 180 lbs of CO2/mmBTU of input or 1,800 lbs of CO2/MWh of gross electrical output. Natural gas and oil-fired plants are expected to meet the requirements without much issue. However, coal-fired plants will not be able to meet the proposed mandate without the installation of carbon capture technology.

The rules would add “significantly” to the cost of construction and operation of coal plants, DEC openly states. (RELATED: New York Governor Wages War On Plastic Bags) 

“Existing coal-fired [plants] will not be able to meet the proposed CO2 emission standard without the installation of controls,” reads the proposed DEC rules. “CCS technology would add significantly to the cost of construction and operation of existing coal-fired [plants]; and ultimately, this expenditure would be anticipated to be passed along as increased electricity costs for the end user.”

Coal plants must either install expensive carbon capture technology, repower to a cleaner fuel or cease operations entirely, DEC went on to state. “No existing coal-fired electric generation emission sources are expected to continue operating in New York beyond December 31, 2020, based in part on the proposed revisions.”

Such a proposal puts at risk two coal plants still in operation — the Cayuga Power Station in Lansing, N.Y., and the Somerset plant in Barker, N.Y. The department is accepting public comment on the proposed regulations until July 29.

The announcement is just the latest move in what has been a string of new regulations New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing. The Democratic governor has embraced calls to completely ban the use of single-use plastic bags in the state and has shifted to the left on a number of other issues since faced with a tougher-than-expected primary battle. Cynthia Nixon — a progressive lesbian made famous for starring in “Sex and the City” —  is challenging Cuomo for the Democratic nomination as he runs for re-election.

The new carbon emission rule would pave the way for Cuomo’s pledge to eradicate coal entirely by 2020.

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