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CCS is a Critical Component of the EPA’s Final Rules for Carbon Emissions Reductions from Fossil Fuel Power Plants

27th April 2024

On April 25th, the US EPA issued New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs) from existing coal-fired power plants and new base-load gas-fired plants, mandating they capture 90% of their carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions by 2032. The rule underscores the crucial role of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology in the decarbonization of power generation and other industrial sectors.  

“The best system of emission reduction [BSER] for the longest-running existing coal units and most heavily utilized new gas turbines is based on carbon capture and sequestration/storage (CCS) – an available and cost-reasonable emission control technology that can be applied directly to power plants and can reduce 90 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from the plants,” the EPA said in its press release for the new rules. CCS is also identified as the BSER for new and reconstructed base load combustion turbines. 

The NSPS were designed to align with power sector planning timelines to ensure the continued reliable delivery of electricity. The EPA’s Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) projects the new standards to result in a decrease of 1.38 gigatonnes of CO₂ emissions through 2047, along with substantial reductions in other harmful air pollutants, including particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.  

CCS dramatically reduces emissions from fossil fuel power generation used to meet global energy demand and is a critical component of efforts to decarbonise power generation systems in many regions of the world. Power plants equipped with CCS can supply flexible low-carbon electricity that complements the variable nature of renewable power, like solar and wind generation.   

CCS is a highly versatile climate mitigation technology with applications in power generation, hydrogen and chemicals, fertiliser, iron and steel, cement, bioethanol, waste to energy, and direct air capture. As of Q1 2024, 43 commercial CCS facilities are in operation around the globe – 16 of which are in the United States. These 43 operational facilities have the combined capacity to capture 50.4 million metric tons of CO₂ annually. Commercial CCS facility development is growing rapidly across the globe with 33 facilities in construction, 158 facilities in advanced development, and 330 facilities in early development as of Q1 2024. 

Read the EPA press release here. More information and the final EPA rule can be found here. 

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