Air Quality

​Implementing EPA’s Clean Power Plan in Oregon

This webpage covers DEQ’s process to develop an Oregon plan for implementing the EPA’s requirement to reduce carbon pollution at coal and natural gas power plants.

DEQ’s process to implement the Clean Power Plan in Oregon is on hold. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered EPA to halt enforcement of the federal rule while it is reviewed by a lower court. DEQ will reinitiate Oregon’s process once there is more clarity on the status of the federal rule. 

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Background

On June 2, 2014 U.S. EPA issued a proposal known as the Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing fossil fuel power plants. Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the U.S., accounting for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions. EPA estimates that the proposed Clean Power Plan would cut national carbon pollution from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels. Smog and soot pollution from power plants are also expected to be reduced by 25 percent.

On August 3, 2015 the EPA finalized the Clean Power Plan. The final rule includes state specific CO2 reduction targets based on the composition of natural gas and coal plants within each state. The rule also provides states with broad flexibility to determine the preferred mechanisms for reducing CO2 emissions from these facilities.

An important part of our early planning is to determine the type of emission standard that will work best for Oregon. EPA gives states the option to choose from two types of emission targets:

  1. Emission rate: This would apply an emission rate standard at each coal and natural gas power plant that is expressed as pounds of CO2 emitted per megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity generated at the facility.
  2. Mass cap: this would establish an overall limit to the total CO2 emissions from all existing coal and natural gas power plants within the state.

To help inform our assessment of this important decision, we issued a document outlining conceptual compliance scenarios with different ways that an emission rate or a mass cap could be implemented in Oregon.

DEQ issued the two documents linked above for comments by stakeholders in December 2015. Following is a summary of the comments received by stakeholders sent in January 2016.

Current work

DEQ’s Clean Power Plan work is on hold while the EPA rule is reviewed in federal court. DEQ will reinitiate work with the Department of Energy, the Public Utility Commission, and stakeholders once the timeline and requirements of the Clean Power Plan are reissued.

Wind turbines

Contact

For more information, contact Colin McConnaha at 503-229-5094 or toll-free in Oregon at 800-452-4011, ext. 5094.