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The EPA quickstep part 2 - Basin Electric Power Cooperative

The EPA quickstep part 2 - Basin Electric Power Cooperative

The EPA quickstep part 2 - Basin Electric Power

By Andrea BlowersStaying in step with theEnvironmental ProtectionAgency (EPA) has gottenmore difficult in recent months.Lyle Witham, Basin Electric managerof environmental services, says thespeed at which the agency is proposingrules to regulate emissions on energygeneration facilities is unlike any othertime in the agency’s history.In the first part 1 of this two-partfeature, Witham explained theproposed and final rules andregulations for sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ),nitrogen oxides (NOx and NO 2 ),greenhouse gas emissions includingcarbon dioxide (CO 2 ), ozone and coalash. He also described the challengesand best-guess costs for Basin Electricin meeting the set standards.Part 2 focuses on EPA regulations,proposed and forthcoming, forhazardous air pollutants (HAPs),fine particulate matter, cooling waterintake structures and an update on thenew final SO 2 rule explained in Part 1.Witham says one of the significantchallenges is the way EPA is proposingregulations piecemeal, one emission at atime, which makes it very difficult to plan.In most cases, emissions and controlsboth directly and indirectly affect otheremissions. “If EPA addressed all of themtogether, the process would be easier. Noteasy, just easier,” he says, “and potentiallyless costly.”Witham compares it to the choice betweenadding new equipment to a used car, orbuying a new car in the near future. “Wewould need to know what we’re required toreplace on our used car before we can makea rational, economic decision.“Right now we don’t know what those partsand components are, or what they are goingto cost. EPA is acting like the mechanicwho brings out one part at a time and asksif we want to fix or replace it. That’s justnot the right way to do business,” Withamsays. “Give us the whole picture, and thenallow us to decide. If we need one or twoaffordable new parts, that’s one thing, but ifin the end we have to replace everything butthe hubcaps, that’s another,” Witham says.Following are some of the proposedregulations and the implicationsthey’ll have on Basin Electric, membercooperatives and consumers.HAPsThe EPA is at various stages ofimplementing maximum achievablecontrol technology (MACT)requirements for different kinds andclasses of stationary sources 2 of HAPs,three of which are likely to have impactson Basin Electric and its membersowners: the MACT for electricalgenerating units (EGUs); the MACTfor industrial boilers; and the MACTfor reciprocating internal combustionengines (RICE).EGU MACTThe EGU MACT will have the biggestimpact on Basin Electric’s coal-basedgeneration fleet – its largest source ofbaseload power. Each of the cooperative’spower plants had to answer a lengthyquestionnaire, and Antelope Valley1“The EPA quickstep: Part 1” was published in the July-August 2010 issue of Basin Today. Read it in www.basinelectric.com’s News Center, onthe Basin Today page in the Publications section.2Stationary sources: Any fixed emitter of air emissions, such as fossil fuel-burning power plants, petroleum refineries, petrochemical plants,food processing plants and other heavy industrial sources.2 BASIN TODAY

compiled by Kathi Risch - Basin Electric Power Cooperative
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