• Update on EPA Power Sector Rules (1/23/19)

EPA provided an update on the various rulemaking efforts affecting the electric utility industry at the recent AWMA Information Exchange held in Research Triangle Park, NC on December 3 and 4, 2019.  While the Agency provided little additional detail regarding the pending rules, it did provide a summary of the publicly available drafts and discussed the tentative schedule for some of these rulemaking activities.

 

Regulation

Status

Expected Date

Combustion Turbine MACT RTR

Final

by March 13, 2020 (possibly January 2020)

MATS e-Reporting Rule

Proposal

“First Quarter 2020” a

MATS RTR and Supplemental Cost Finding Rule

Final

"By 2020" b 

GHG NSPS for New EGUs

Final

March 2020

RICE MACT RTR

Proposal

End of 2020

Boiler MACT RTR

Proposal

End of 2020

MATS Technical Corrections

Proposal

First Quarter 2021

a Although possibly June 2020 based on EPA’s regulatory agenda and discussion with other Agency personnel

b Rulemaking package is currently at OMB and action is expected within the next few months


Finalization of the CT MACT RTR is perhaps one of the more significant of the pending rulemakings.  EPA concluded that risks are acceptable under the existing rule and that no new cost-effective controls are available, thus the standards will remain unchanged.  However, EPA’s proposed action would remove the current stay of the emissions standards for lean premix gas-fired turbines and diffusion flame gas-fired turbines, which has been in place since 2004.  While there was initially a three-year compliance window associated with the rule, that time period has expired.  Thus, any applicable turbine (installed or reconstructed at a major source after 1/14/2003) would be immediately be required to demonstrate compliance with the formaldehyde standard of 91 ppbd@15% O2.  EPA stated that they are aware of the impact of removing the remand on existing CTs and that they "see a need" for some additional time to demonstrate compliance.  It’s possible that the final rule will include a provision for extending the amount of time for compliance demonstration and possibly allow sources to file an extension if oxidation catalyst is required to meet the new limits.


The MATS Risk and Technology Review (RTR) and Supplemental Cost Finding Rule is another significant rulemaking package that is expected to be finalized soon.  Based on a SCOTUS decision, EPA revised the cost analysis for MATS to reflect HAPS only and found the costs were significantly reduced such that the rule no longer met "appropriate and necessary" requirement in Section 112.  Despite this revised conclusion, EPA is not proposing to repeal the MATS Rule, stating that the revised appropriate and necessary finding does not automatically delist EGUs from the Section 112(c) and EPA has elected not to formally pursue the delisting option available under Section 112(c)(9) although it did request comments on several issues related to that decision.  Included in the rulemaking package was the MATS RTR, which concluded that no changes to the emission standards were necessary.


  • States Begin ACE Plan Development (1/23/20)
  • Some state agencies appear to be getting an early start on their ACE compliance plans, which must be completed by July 8, 2022.  RMB has recently received a few inquiries from electric utilities in various states (e.g. Missouri, Nebraska, and Arizona) regarding data requests from their respective state agencies for conducting unit-specific heat rate improvement analyses for each state's ACE plan development.  These requests focus on background information on the existing ACE candidate technologies and various operating data, including fuel usage, generation, CO2 emissions, and heat rate data, as well as future plans for the facility. 

     

    We believe that states will generally lack the information or expertise to develop meaningful ACE Rule emissions limits for each unit based on the specific.  Ultimately, sources will be required to provide their own assessment of heat rate improvement resulting from implementation of one or more of the candidate technologies specified in the rule and to evaluate of the baseline CO2 emissions rates and the uncertainty associated with that data as well as important details regarding averaging times and how those averages will be calculated--all critical given the lack of guidance from EPA regarding any of these issues.


    If you received an ACE Rule data request from your state agency please contact RMB, so we can track these activities and discuss any questions you may have about the rule.


  • EPA Proposes Latest Round of Test Method Revisions (12/13/19)
  • In today's Federal Register, dated December 13, 2019 (Volume 84, No. 240 - 29 total pages), EPA has proposed yet another round of changes to various reference test methods and CEMS performance specifications.  A copy of the proposed rule can found in our FTP library.


    • RMB's Spring 2020 CEMS Training Course - Registration Now Open!  (11/4/19)

    RMB's Spring 2020 CEMS Training Course has now been confirmed and registration is now open! The Spring course will be held March 24-26, 2020 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  For more details on RMB's Spring 2020 CEMS Training Course as well as registration information, click the following link: RMB Training.  For direct registration informaiton, click here: RMB CEMS Course Registration - Spring 2020



    • EGU MATS HCl Quarterly Testing News - Audit Sample Program  (10/28/19)

    Earlier this summer, EPA posted a notice regarding a lack of providers for audit samples as part the audit sample program under 40 CFR Parts 60 and 63.  As a reminder, use of audit samples are required if the audit samples are "commercially available" from two or more independent accredited audit sample providers (AASP).  Since there are no longer two providers, the requirement to obtain these audit samples is no longer in effect until another indepedent AASP has audit samples for purchase.   What does this mean in practice for many is EGU MATS affected sources?  Those sources performing quarterly stack testing for HCl no longer need to acquire blind audit samples for quarterly performance tests (e.g sources using Reference Method 26A for HCl stack testing).  Finally, EPA has stated that they will post an update with the name(s) of the providers and audit sample(s) available for purhaase when there are two or more AASP.  Once that post occurs, the audit sample program will go back into effect 60 days after the post has been made.

    Follow this link for the actual notice: EPA Notice - Audit Sample Program


    • EPA Finalizes ACE Rule and Clean Power Plan Repeal  (7/8/19)

    In today's Federal Register, dated July 8, 2019 (Volume 84, No. 130 - 65 total pages), EPA has finalized the Affordable Clean Energy rule ("ACE Rule") and formally repealed the Clean Power Plan (CPP).  A copy of the final rule can found in our FTP library.


    • Update on EPA's Combustion Turbine NESHAP  (4/12/19)

    On April 12, 2019, EPA published in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled, “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants: Stationary Combustion Turbines Residual Risk and Technology Review.”  EPA initially issued its NESHAP rule for Stationary Combustion Turbines on March 5, 2004.  The rule applies to stationary combustion turbines located at major sources of hazardous air pollutants (HAP).  The NESHAP requires new or reconstructed stationary combustion turbines to meet a formaldehyde limit of 91 parts per billion by volume, dry basis at 15 percent oxygen.  However, EPA stayed the effectiveness of the rule on August 18, 2004.  A copy of the proposed rule can found in our FTP library.

    Following a residual risk and technology review conducted pursuant to the Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA is proposing to determine that risks from the source category are acceptable and that no new cost-effective controls are available.  In the proposed rule, EPA is also:


      • Revising the requirements for periods of startup, shutdown and malfunction (SSM) to be consistent with recent court decisions;
      • Requiring electronic reporting of performance test results and compliance reports; and
      • Lifting the stay of the standards for new gas-fired stationary combustion turbines, which has been in effect since August 2004.           


    • EPA Proposes Reconsideration of Supplemental MATS Finding  (2/7/19)

    In today's Federal Register, dated February 7, 2019 (Volume 84, No. 26 - 35 total pages), EPA has proposed their reconsideration of supplemental finding and resisdual risk and technology review of the MATS rule.  At this time it's unclear what the ultimate outcome of this new finding would mean for the industry.  Comments are due by April 8, 2019.   There will also be a public hearing concering this proposed rule.  The time and location of the public hearing will be announced in a subsequent Federal Register notice.  A copy of the proposed rule can found in our FTP library.