How did we get here?

  • June 2014 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the Clean Power Plan (CPP), calling for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions reductions from existing power plants by 2030.
  • August 2015 – The EPA finalized CPP using the same timeline but increased overall CO2 reductions.
    • National target CO2 reduction increased from 30% as proposed to 32% in the final rule.
    • ND’s target CO2 reduction increased from 11% as proposed to 45% in the final rule.
    • States given until September 2016 to submit initial State Implementation Plan (SIP)

What does the CPP mean for North Dakota?

  •  A 45% reduction in CO2 emissions could result in shutting down some coal-fired generation and replacing
    it with other non-emitting generation resources to fully comply.

    •  Retiring power plants means associated coal mines will also likely close.
    •  In 2014, the ND lignite industry accounted for over $3 billion in total economic activity.
    • Decreased tax revenue will impact the state and local communities.
  • The CPP fails to recognize the role and value of efficient, reliable and affordable baseload power generation utilized in North Dakota and exported across the region.
    • Baseload power would likely be replaced with intermittent, renewable sources, impacting grid management,
      performance, reliability and the operation of wholesale electric markets.

Is there a solution?

  •  Legal Action
    • North Dakota has filed a lawsuit because the final rule quadrupled our emissions goal, we export much of the
      power we produce, and lignite is unique.
    •  Lawsuits can take years to conclude, and a stay from the courts could mean the rule wouldn’t go into effect.
  • North Dakota State Implementation Plan
    • Should be reasonable, and achievable, without sacrificing existing coal generation, impacting reliability, and
      resulting in economic harm.
    • Should be as flexible as possible, not focusing on the interim goals, to give the state through 2030 to work
      towards CO2 goals.
    • Should recognize constraints, and allow for appropriate time to develop technology and infrastructure to
      meet the rule.
    • Should account for load growth in North Dakota – need to keep existing plants in operation, as well as
      facilitate new generation to provide for the growing power needs of the state.
  • Technology
    • The industry has invested over $2 billion in the last two decades to reduce emissions of pollutants.
    • North Dakota is one of only 7 states that meet all federal national ambient air quality standards.
    • The lignite industry continues to invest millions of dollars into research and development of carbon capture
      technology, but EPA’s mandated timeline doesn’t allow time for development.
    • The final rule needs to be reconciled with efforts to deploy CO2 capture, utilization and sequestration
      technologies, not freeze future investments for these technologies.