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New EPA rule will use efficiency to make air cleaner, says advocate

The Trump Administration this week released a final new rule for coal-fired power plants.

The Affordable Clean Energy rule is the replacement for the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan,” said energy advocate Terry Jarrett. “That plan was a real, sweeping effort to regulate carbon emissions. It would have, in the short term, required lots of retirements of coal plants.”

The new rule purports to get the air as clean, but to do it a different way.

“It regulates only individual coal-fired power plants,” said Jarrett. “It doesn’t require states to have the emissions reduction policies that the Clean Power Plan did.”

ACE establishes heat rate improvement, or efficiency improvement, as the best system of emissions reduction.

“If you increase the heat rate efficiency by 1%, you get a 2 to 3% reduction in carbon emissions,” said Jarrett. “If you can increase the heat efficiency of a coal-fired power plant by 5%, you get a 10 to 15% reduction in carbon emissions. I think, in the long run, what you’re going to see here is you’re going to see some of the more modern coal plants get even more efficient and less carbon-emitting and less pollution-emitting.”

Jarrett believes that some of the older plants that can’t make the improvements will ultimately close, but it won’t have to happen right away.

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