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EPA finalizes GHG standards for electric power generation industry

EPA finalizes GHG standards for electric power generation industry

As we race toward the November U.S. presidential elections, the EPA is working to finalize numerous rules proposed in the past few years, including a grouping of air quality rules originally proposed in 2023 to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the power sector. On May 9, the EPA finalized their latest approach to regulating GHG emissions from certain sectors of the fossil-fuel fired power generation industry. The final rules, which create and amend multiple subparts under 40 CFR 60, rely significantly on carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) as an available technology to reduce GHG emissions from the electric power generation sector.

Making sense of the new standards

The new standards will limit GHG from the electric power generation sector for certain new and reconstructed natural gas-fired combustion turbines and existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGUs). Emission standards for certain existing baseload combustion turbines have not yet been finalized and will be determined by the EPA at a later date.

New and reconstructed stationary combustion turbines

New or reconstructed fossil fuel-fired stationary combustion turbines will now be subject to new and updated emission standards, with sub-categorization based on the frequency of operation. The new standards specify numeric emission limitations upon initial startup, with baseload turbines required to use CCS by 2032 to achieve emission reductions. See Table 1 for details.

Existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units

New emission guidelines have now been finalized for certain existing fossil fuel-fired EGUs. States are responsible for implementation and are required to submit their plans to the EPA for review and approval by May 11, 2026. Facilities that intend to use coal-fired units beyond 2039 will be expected to install and operate CCS technology, while facilities that cease operation prior to 2039 will be subject to less intrusive standards, based on the date in which the unit’s ability to fire coal is removed. See Table 2 for details. Separate standards are proposed for existing fuel oil and natural gas fired EGUs, which do not require CCS and are provided in Table 3.

Identifying and understanding your compliance options

This is the EPA’s third attempt to regulate GHG from the power generation sector and, like past proposed rulings, the final rule has already faced litigation from certain states. While lawsuits may influence implementation, the final rule will be effective as of July 8, 2024, with the expectation that power generation facility operators understand the new rule’s requirements in order to identify and vet compliance options ahead of time—some of which may require significant investment. Read a more detailed summary of the proposed rulemaking.

Contact our team for help determining how these new guidelines apply to your facility and to explore your compliance options.

About the author

Adam Driscoll, vice president, senior environmental engineer, has more than 15 years of experience with environmental permitting and compliance, primarily involving petroleum refining, mining, power generation, and manufacturing. He spent three of those years working at a global manufacturing corporation, where he acquired critical experience with environmental permitting, led cross-functional EHS audits, and negotiated issues of noncompliance with regulatory agencies. Adam’s areas of expertise are complex air-quality permitting and environmental auditing and compliance.


Adam Driscoll, Vice President, Senior Environmental Engineer
Adam Driscoll
Vice President, Senior Environmental Engineer
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