New EPA power plant regs to have little impact in Maine

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today unveiled new guidelines that limit the amount of carbon dioxide new coal- and natural gas-fired power plants will be allowed to emit.

Interested to know if these new regulations will have any impact on Maine’s existing power plants or the cost Mainers pay for electricity, I called up Dan Dolan, president of the New England Power Generators Association.

Because New England generates a surplus of energy, there’s not much in the way of new power plants being built in New England (and definitely not coal-fired ones), Dolan said. There are no new power plants in the works in Maine. And so, because the new regulations will only impact new power plants, today’s news has little impact on Maine, Dolan said.

“In that respect today’s news, in terms of in-state production, is not a big story,” he said.

However, today’s announcement is a dress rehearsal for stricter emission regulations for existing power plants, which the Obama administration expects to release in June 2014.

“That will be an interesting one to watch,” Dolan said.

He said the expectations are that next June’s regulations, however, will not impact natural gas-fired power plants, which generally already emit less carbon dioxide than its coal- and oil-fired brethren.

“It (next June’s regulations) will likely be more about the coal and oil facilities, but all of that is a guess,” he said. “We don’t know.”

So, today’s EPA guidelines will have little to no impact in Maine and New England. But come next year, Maine power plants, such as Wyman station, the oil-fired plant in Yarmouth, will likely face new regulations forcing them to reduce emissions.



Whit Richardson

About Whit Richardson

Whit Richardson is Business Editor at the Bangor Daily News. He blogs about Maine business, entrepreneurs and the economy.