Forum on EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Rule: What Does it Mean for North Carolina?

On March 13, 2015 IEI partnered with the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, the North Carolina Clean Technology Center, E4 Carolinas, the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster and Advanced Energy to talk about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Rule and its implications for North Carolina.  The meeting organizers hoped that the convening of roughly 90 stakeholders would identify collective concerns about the proposed rule as well as opportunities to address the likely components of a final rule.

Read about the proceedings from the Forum here.

Because greenhouse gases are not listed in the Clean Air Act, the EPA relied on a little-used Section of the Act, 111(d), which regulates pre-existing stationary sources of pollutants found to endanger public health and welfare.  The Agency’s proposed carbon rule is the most significant change in the electricity sector in decades, requiring states to develop plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil-fueled power plants. Comments on the proposed rule were due in December 2014 and based on those comments the EPA will finalize the Clean Power Plan by mid summer 2015. The initial North Carolina compliance plan is due to EPA by June 2016. Under the proposed EPA standards, North Carolina power plants must cut their carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent by 2030 to meet the proposed emission goals.

The convening highlighted that North Carolina has a series of major decisions to make with regard to compliance:

  • Should we develop a single-state or multi-state compliance plan?
  • Should Duke Energy retire additional coal fired power plants, even though North Carolina customers have already paid for costly upgrades under the state’s Clean Smokestacks Act? If the utility does retire plants early, are ratepayers responsible for paying these stranded costs?
  • How should North Carolina determine the trajectory of the emission reductions for the interim period (2020-2029)?
  • What are the different compliance scenarios that North Carolina could feasibly implement?

We would like to thank the ZSR Foundation for their financial contribution to make our convening possible.