Existing Power Plants
On August 3, 2015, EPA adopted Carbon Pollution Standards for Existing Power Plants, known as the Clean Power Plan, which was projected to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.
Under the Clean Air Act, EPA typically sets standards and states implement them. The Clean Power Plan:
- Set unique emission rates goals and mass equivalents for each state, reflecting the variation in their electricity generation mixes, to be met starting in 2022;
- Provided states significant flexibility in choosing how to meet their targets;
- Provided incentives for early deployment of renewables and efficiency measures benefiting low-income communities;
- Provided tools to assist states choosing to implement market-based approaches; and
- Contained a Federal Implementation Plan that EPA would use in states that did not implement adequate implementation plans.
A unique feature of the Clean Power Plan was how it allowed states to choose to write implementation plans individually or in cooperation with other states. It also allowed states the flexibility to include market-based mechanisms, such as averaging or trading, to help power companies identify least-cost emission reductions.
The Clean Power Plan was adopted under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, which applies to existing power plants, and allows EPA and the states greater flexibility in crafting and implementing a standard. The standard for existing plants cannot be finalized until a standard for new plants is in place under Section 111(b).
The Clean Power Plan has never been implemented because of a U.S. Supreme Court stay issued in February 2016. It is under review by EPA and is expected to be revised.