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FERC Weighs Input on EPA Air Rule

Posted By Todd H. Cunningham On February 19, 2012 @ 1:00 am In Power Regulation | No Comments

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has proposed a process by which the agency could weigh in on the reliability  impacts of generator’s requests for additional time to comply with a sweeping air emissions rule.

Energy regulators are considering how to weigh in on power plants’ requests for more time to meet a new EPA emissions rule. (Photo By: Leadinglights) [1]

Energy regulators are considering how to weigh in on power plants’ requests for more time to meet a new EPA emissions rule. (Photo By: Leadinglights)

The Environmental Protection Agency’s finalized its Utility Mercury Air Toxics [2] rule on Feb. 16. The rule aims at emissions of mercury, acid gases and other hazardous air pollutants from power plants. It requires utilities to use maximum available control technology to meet new standards.

NRECA has expressed concern about the potential impact of the rule’s tight compliance deadlines, and other provisions, on electric cooperatives and consumers’ rates.

“We are disappointed the Administration failed to provide greater flexibility. If co-ops are forced to purchase alternative generation at wholesale market rates to ensure reliability, cooperative consumer-members will ultimately bear the cost,” said association CEO Glenn English.

Utilities have three years to comply, with the possibility of a fourth year at the discretion of individual states. EPA also has provided a process by which certain affected sources could obtain an additional one-year extension through an administrative order pursuant to Section 113(a) of the Clean Air Act.

The environmental agency specifically contemplated requests for such orders from electric generating units that might affect bulk power system reliability due to deactivation or delays related to the installation of controls.

EPA has said that in evaluating a request, it would seek advice, on a case-by-case basis, from FERC or other entities with reliability expertise. However, it specified, issuance of an extra-time order was not conditioned upon their approval or concurrence.

In its white paper, the FERC staff proposed [3] that each request for an EPA administrative order also be submitted to the commission as an informational filing.

FERC’s review would be limited to whether, based upon the circumstances presented, there might be a violation of a FERC-approved reliability standard. As part of its proposal, FERC would submit written comments on each request to EPA.

“Our initial sense is that the proposal is too narrow and lacks procedural safeguards,” said Rich Meyer, NRECA senior regulatory counsel.

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Article printed from Electric Co-op Today: http://www.ect.coop

URL to article: http://www.ect.coop/regulatory-watch/power-regulation/ferc-epa-air-rule-plan/39826

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.ect.coop/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/FERCrs.jpg

[2] Utility Mercury Air Toxics: http://www.epa.gov/mats/actions.html

[3] the FERC staff proposed: http://www.ferc.gov/media/news-releases/2012/2012-1/01-30-12-white-paper.pdf

[4] click here.: http://www.ect.coop/customized-news-feeds

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