EPA finalizes Affordable Clean Energy rule, repeals Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule and simultaneously repealed the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

A review of the CPP was performed in response to President Trump’s Executive Order 13873 – Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth. EPA says the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay of the CPP in 2016.

EPA says this new rule “empowers states to reduce emissions while providing affordable and reliable energy for all Americans.”

Nothing published to date regarding the ACE rule makes any mention of hydropower or other renewable energy sources. In fact, the only source of energy production mentioned is coal.

The ACE rule establishes emissions guidelines for states to use when developing plans to limit CO2 at their coal-fired power plants. Specifically, ACE identifies heat rate improvements as the best system of emission reduction for CO2 from coal-fired power plants, and these improvements can be made at individual facilities.

EPA says ACE will reduce emissions of CO2 and mercury, as well as precursors for pollutants like fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone:

“We are delivering on one of President Trump’s core priorities: ensuring the American public has access to affordable, reliable energy in a manner that continues our nation’s environmental progress,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “ACE adheres to the Clean Air Act and gives states the regulatory certainty they need to continue to reduce emissions and provide a dependable, diverse supply of electricity that all Americans can afford. When ACE is fully implemented, we expect to see U.S. power sector CO2 emissions fall by as much as 35 percent below 2005 levels.”

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