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U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan

On Aug. 3, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) issued final regulations on carbon emission reductions from steam electric and natural gas fired generating units under Clean Air Act section 111(d).

The Clean Power Plan calls for the national reduction of CO2 emissions by 32 percent from 2005 levels.

How does this impact Ohio?

The Clean Power Plan establishes Ohio-specific standards based on the overall emissions reductions requirement and the state’s resource mix of power plants.

The Clean Power Plan requirements for Ohio can be met through one of the following mechanisms:

  1. Emission Standards Plan. Places emission standards on electric generating units. Specific generation units meet emission rate standards known as rate-based requirements (measured in pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour) or annual average state CO2 emissions (in short tons) known as mass-based requirements
  2. State Measures Plan. Utilizes state-enforceable measures on entities other than electric generating unit in conjunction with emission standards on electric generating units

These measures must be “backstopped” by federally enforceable measures.

Ohio’s CO2 rate-based requirement for 2030 is 1,190 lbs/Net MWh (down 37 percent from 2012 rate of 1,900 lbs/Net MWh)  

Ohio’s CO2 mass-based requirement for 2030 is 73,769,806 short tons (down from 28 percent from the 2012 rate of 102,239,220 short tons)

How were Ohio’s rate-based and mass-based requirements derived?

U.S. EPA established the emission standards to reflect the best system of emission reductions (BSER), which requires U.S. EPA to consider the cost of achieving emission reductions and any non-air quality health and environmental impacts and energy requirements. U.S. EPA determined the following state goals represent the BSER:

  1. Improving combustion efficiency (heat rate) at coal-fired steam generation units. 
  2. Increasing generation from existing lower-emitting natural gas combined-cycle units while reducing generation from higher-emitting affected steam-generating units.
  3. Increasing generation from new zero-emitting renewable energy resources while reducing generation from affected fossil fuel-fired generating units.

U.S. EPA also created the Clean Energy Incentive Program to incentivize early investments that generate wind and solar power, or reduce end-use energy demand in low-income areas. Credit is available for renewable MWs generated, as well as MWs in low-income areas saved, in the years 2020-2021.

What is the time frame for Ohio to meet these requirements?

State implementation plan or initial submittal with extension request September 2016
State plan for states with extensions September 2018
Interim goal performance period             
Step 1 2022-2024
Step 2 2025-2027
Step 3 2028-2029
Final goal 2030

What is the PUCO doing?

The PUCO is currently reviewing the final rule and plans to assist in technical understanding as Ohio determines the best approach to compliance.

On Jan. 21, 2016 the PUCO submitted comments to the US EPA on federal plan requirements for greenhouse gas emissions from electric utility generating units.

The PUCO also filed comments on the proposed rules while in draft form on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014. It's important to note that the finalized rule has changed significantly since these comments were filed.

PUCO comments (on draft rules)

For More Information

U.S. EPA’s  Complying with President Trump's Executive Order on Energy Independence