Peter Spinney
Bob Williams, director of research for PennWell Publishing's Oil & Gas Journal Research Center Peter Spinney is Director of Market and Technology Assessment at NeuCo, Inc., the leading provider of optimization technology solutions within the electric power industry. His background combines electric power generation, economics consulting and government agency experience. Click here for a detailed bio.


Recent Developments Affecting US Coal-Fired Power Generation: When is Rains it Pours
January 19th, 2012
This post is filed under the following categories:
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Between two substantial events affecting rules regarding emissions regulations by the US EPA, unprecedented low natural gas prices, and what appears to finally be a sustained economic turn-around and associated impacts on electricity demand, it has truly been an  eventful New Year for the power generation industry. Let me focus on CSAPR now, and will opine on the other topics in the days to come.

Arguably the most newsworthy and certainly the most surprising, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a ruling on December 30, 2011 to stay the controversial Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which was scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2012. It required 28 Eastern and Midwestern states to reduce SO2 and NOx emissions, accompanied by a supplemental rule finalized in December mandating five states to make summertime NOx reductions as part of CSAPR ozone season control program; which wasdesigned to assist states in attaining ozone and fine particle National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

The D.C. Circuit Court will be holding hearings in April 2012 to rule on the case. In the meantime the EPA is now busy reinstating allowance trading for the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR), which it vacated in 2008 but re-instated as an interim regulation until a suitable replacement rule was promulgated.

The postponement of CSAPR obligations is a victory for parties objecting to it, but the EPA will be able to finalize “technical adjustments” before the rule is put into effect. While EPA has expressed hopes in a mid-2012 “go-ahead” ruling, in my view, actual implementation during the fall presidential race is “not bloody likely.”

The Court’s 11th hour decision took industry experts and energy markets alike by surprise.  Many observers had anticipated an exemption for Texas due to both the large change in compliance requirements relative to CAIR and reliability issues related to low capacity reserve margins associated with coal units being taken offline and/or retired.  The surprise mainly stemmed from the fact that this same court when vacating CAIR in its order stated that it would “not tolerate any unnecessary delays”

While the timing and substance of the court’s ultimate ruling on CSAPR remains uncertain, all observers acknowledge that the EPA is legally required to address interstate emissions transport.  Most of the folks running plants and responsible for corporate emissions compliance have told me their companies expect that CSAPR or something very like it will be in place next year at the latest, and are continuing along the same path before being surprised by the stay.

I agree with them that the rule will likely be re-instated in a form close to or identical to that which has been stayed, and that the courts ruling will embody some level of urgency with respect to the timing.  Of course another uglier possibility would be given the difficulties in designing a rule that can legally deal with interstate emissions transport; the court avoids any emissions-trading program whatsoever.  In this scenario, the only possible outcome would be a command-and-control regime more akin to the manner in which the CAA/CAAA Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) requirements are being applied in states not covered by CSAPR or New Source Review (NSR) litigation which has and continues to be applied on a case-by-case basis in the Midwest and Southeast. But let’s save that topic for another blog…

In any case, this stay will buy power generators more time in the near term; however the future has never been so unclear for many.  You will be hearing from me on the recently finalized Utility MACT rule shortly.


Tags: , , , ,


28 Responses to “Recent Developments Affecting US Coal-Fired Power Generation: When is Rains it Pours”

  1. lakeville condo Says:

    This is a topic which is near to my heart… Best wishes!
    Where are your contact details though?

  2. ลดความอ้วน Says:

    Highly descriptive post, I enjoyed that bit.

    Will there be a part 2?

  3. newest hair Says:

    Aw, this was a really ood post. Spending some time andd actual effort
    to makme a superb article… but what cann I say… I hesifate a whole lot and never manage to gett nearly anything done.

  4. fixes split ends Says:

    I enjoy reading through an article that will make people think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!

  5. ยาลดความอ้วน Says:

    Wonderful post! We are linking to this great article
    on our site. Keep up the good writing.

  6. best dating sites Says:

    I was able to find good info from your blog articles.

  7. Freddy Says:

    Ridiculos story there. What occurred after? Take care!

  8. loi sur la location Says:

    What’s up to every one, the contents present at
    this web page are genuinely amazing for people knowledge, well, keep up the
    good work fellows.

  9. concept2 model d indoor rowing machine reviews Says:

    No matter if some one searches for his vital thing, thus he/she wants to be available that
    in detail, thus that thing is maintained over here.

  10. annonce plan cul Says:

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do
    with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is excellent blog.
    A great read. I will definitely be back.

  11. match.com Says:

    Post writing is also a excitement, if you be
    familiar with then you can write or else it is difficult to

  12. Ashly Says:

    I believe what you typed made a bunch of sense. But, what about this?
    suppose you were to create a killer post title?
    I mean, I don’t want to tell you how to run your blog, however what if
    you added a title to possibly grab people’s attention? I mean blog topic is a little boring.

    You might peek at Yahoo’s home page and watch how they write article titles to get viewers to
    open the links. You might add a related video or
    a pic or two to grab people excited about what you’ve got to say.
    In my opinion, it would make your posts a little livelier.

  13. CarleenKDurnin Says:

    Hi there it’s me, I am also visiting this website
    on a regular basis, this site is in fact nice and the
    visitors are truly sharing pleasant thoughts.

  14. BrandenBRifenbery Says:

    Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all of us you really know
    what you are talking about! Bookmarked. Kindly additionally
    seek advice from my site =). We may have a link change agreement between us

  15. KatharynSMakekau Says:

    Howdy fantastic website! Does running a blog such as this take a great deal of work?
    I’ve absolutely no understanding of programming however I was hoping to
    start my own blog soon. Anyhow, should you have any recommendations or tips for
    new blog owners please share. I understand this is off subject however I just had to ask.

  16. LyndsayIDudeck Says:

    Everyone loves it when individuals come together and share ideas.
    Great site, stick with it!

  17. Bonita Says:

    Excellent article. Keep writing such kind of info on your page.
    Im really impressed by your site.
    Hi there, You’ve done a great job. I will definitely digg it and for my part recommend
    to my friends. I am confident they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  18. CristopherLMazzacano Says:

    Hello my friend! I want to say that this article is amazing,
    nice written and come with approximately all vital infos.
    I would like to see more posts like this .

  19. ClintNStanbaugh Says:

    Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my
    myspace group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.

    Please let me know. Thank you

  20. mortgages Says:

    whoah this blog is fantastic i love reading your articles.
    Stay up the great work! You know, lots of individuals are hunting around for this information, you could help them greatly.

  21. googly Says:

    Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up very fast! What host are
    you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?

    I wish my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  22. equity release Says:

    Can I just say what a comfort to uncover someone that truly knows
    what they are discussing on the net. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light
    and make it important. More and more people really need to
    look at this and understand this side of your story. I can’t believe
    you aren’t more popular given that you most certainly have
    the gift.

  23. quest bars Says:

    Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article post.

    I like to write a little comment to support you.

  24. quest bars Says:

    If some one wants to be updated with latest technologies then he must be pay
    a visit this web site and be up to date all the time.

  25. quest bars Says:

    I am now not positive the place you’re getting your information, but
    great topic. I must spend a while finding out more or figuring out more.
    Thank you for magnificent information I was searching for this info for my mission.

  26. quest bars Says:

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came
    to _return the favor_.I’m trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok
    to use a few of your ideas!!

  27. minecraft games Says:

    Simply desire to say your article is as surprising.

    The clarity in your post is simply great and i could assume you’re an expert on this subject.

    Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated
    with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the
    gratifying work.

  28. lawn Utah Says:

    Hi, I think your webxitе mightt bbe having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at уour blog site іn Ie, it looks fine but whеn opening in ӏnternet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I juhst wanted toօ give you a quick hеadѕ up!
    Other then thɑt, superb blog!

Leave a Reply

Security Code: