E&E News: "Climate Law Could Help EPA Justify Stronger Power Plant Rules"

An article about new EPA modeling features insight from RFF Fellow Dallas Burtraw and a reference to a recent RFF Live event on electricity-sector modeling.

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March 4, 2023

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E&E News

Dallas Burtraw, a senior fellow at RFF, said the Inflation Reduction Act subsidies vastly improved the cost-competitiveness of CCS — boosting the argument that EPA should use it as the “best system” standard.

“The IRA subsidies for CCS make it a viable and defensible basis for a standard to apply to fossil units,” Burtraw said...

The agency’s power plant rules could move the needle even further. But Burtraw said the climate law may do more to encourage renewables than CCS in the power sector.

“Because of other parts of the IRA that support renewables, I think the industry will predominantly turn towards renewables rather than new capital investment for fossil units,” he said.

Even with CCS, coal-fired power will carry risks of future regulatory changes, Burtraw said, and investors might prefer renewables.

While he predicted the Inflation Reduction Act would give EPA confidence to select CCS as the basis of its rules, other experts offer differing opinions about whether carbon capture is “adequately demonstrated” as a control technology — especially for gas plants and existing units. And any standard EPA selects will have to stand up to legal challenges that are likely to go all the way to the Supreme Court.

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