Back to the Future: EIA’s Analysis of EPA’s Clean Power Plan Concludes that Power Sector CO2 Emissions May Drop to 1980s Levels
In June 2014, EPA issued its proposed Clean Power Plan to regulate CO2 emissions from existing power plants under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. The Clean Power Plan proposes to limit carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units, including steam generating, integrated gasification combined cycle, or stationary combustion turbines operating or under construction by January 8, 2014. In August 2014, Representative Lamar Smith requested that the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) analyze the effects of the Clean Power Plan on, among other things, greenhouse gas emissions, electric markets, and coal plants retired.
Last week, the EIA released its report with an extensive press release describing the report’s high-level conclusions. This week, the EIA followed up with a brief article that offers a stark conclusion driven by data from the Plan: In its estimation, power sector CO2 emissions will fall to about 1,500 million metric tons per year by 2025, a level not seen since the early 1980s. Much of this reduction would be achieved by an expected doubling of the amount of coal-fired power that would be shuttered with the Plan over the amount that would be shuttered but for the Plan. According to the EIA: (i) but for the Plan, coal-fired power would be reduced by 40 gigawatts by 2030; and (ii) with the Plan, coal-fired power would be reduced by about 90 gigawatts in the same time period.
The following graph concisely illustrates the magnitude of this Plan:
The EIA's full report is available here.