On the eve of his 54th birthday, President Obama  unveiled  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Power Plan to cut the carbon pollution driving climate change as his birthday gift to the American people.The Clean Power Plan aims to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, the nation’s largest source, while maintaining energy reliability and affordability. Also on August 3, EPA issued final Carbon Pollution Standards for new, modified, and reconstructed power plants, and proposed a Federal Plan and model rule to assist states in implementing the Clean Power Plan. These are the first‐ever national standards that address carbon pollution from power plants.

The final Clean Power Plan follows that approach of the Clean Air Act establishing interim and final carbon dioxide (CO2) emission performance rates for two subcategories of fossil fuel‐fired electric generating units (EGUs):

o Fossil fuel‐fired electric steam generating units (generally, coal‐ and oil‐fired power plants)

o Natural gas‐fired combined cycle generating units

To maximize the range of choices available to states in implementing the standards and to utilities in meeting them, EPA is establishing interim and final statewide goals in three forms:   o A rate‐based state goal measured in pounds per megawatt hour (lb/MWh);

o A mass‐based state goal measured in total short tons of CO2;

o A mass‐based state goal with a new source complement measured in total short tons of CO2.

When the Clean Power Plan is fully in place in 2030, carbon pollution from the power sector will be 32 percent below 2005 levels, securing progress and making sure it continues. However as power plants already cut emissions by 15% since 2005, this is only 20% extra. As power plants contribute 31% to total CO2 emissions this is only a 6% reduction in overall reductions. By 2030, emissions of sulfur dioxide from power plants should be  90 percent lower compared to 2005 levels, and emissions of nitrogen oxides will be 72 percent lower.

The Clean Power Plan itself is projected to contribute significant pollution reductions, resulting in important benefits:

– Climate benefits of $20 billion

– Health benefits of $14‐$34 billion: 3,600 premature deaths o 1,700 heart attacks o 90,000 asthma attacks o 300,000 missed work days and school days

– Net benefits of $26‐$45 billion


(Photo: courtesy Citizens Energy Group . The Perry K Steam Plant is the oldest coal-fired power station of the 589 cola plants in the US, put in operation in August 1938 owned and operated by Citizens Energy Group in Indianapolis, Indiana. It was announced that the plant would convert to natural gas by 2014.