Power plants are the largest concentrated source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the U.S., accounting for about one-third of all domestic GHG emissions. Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued new proposals for carbon pollution standards for new power plants. Twenty-two major companies signed a letter in support of the proposed standards. The companies include Unilever, Levi Strauss, Symantec and Patagonia. All of the 22 companies that signed the letters have signed the Ceres Climate Declaration, which calls for a coordinated effort to tackle climate change. In fact, the 22 companies are the largest companies among the over 600 that signed the Declaration.
Other companies signing the letter include: Acer Inc., Akamai Technologies Inc., Annie’s Homegrown, Aspen Skiing Company, Ben & Jerry’s, Dignity Health, Eastern Bank, K2 Sports, L’Oréal, Method, New Belgium Brewing, Portland Trail Blazers, Saunders Hotel Group, Seventh Generation, Stonyfield Farm, The North Face, Timberland, and United Natural Foods Inc.
In the letter the companies express their strong support for the new standards and urge the EPA to “finalize the rule soon.” The letter also urges the EPA to proceed with a program to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants as a critical next step in reducing the impacts of climate change and catalyzing the burgeoning clean energy economy.” The companies support the proposed rules, according to the letter, because investing in cleaner technologies will “create jobs and economic benefits.”
The letter mentions a recent Ceres report with the World Wildlife Fund and Calvert Investments which revealed that almost 60 percent of the Fortune 100 and almost two-thirds of the Global 100 have set greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments, renewable energy commitments or both.
“The proposed standard for future power plants would not have a material negative impact on electric power sector companies,” said Dan Bakal, electric power program director at Ceres, which organized the letter. “Just as a rule for new sources can be crafted to maximize economic benefit and minimize costs, a rule for existing power plants can be designed to cost-effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions while helping transition the power sector toward cleaner energy sources. In short, these will be economically beneficial, technology- and innovation-driving regulations.”
The new standards issued last week by the EPA proposes to set separate standards for natural gas-fired turbines and coal-fired units. New large natural gas fired turbines would have to meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of carbon per megawatt-hour (mWh), and new small natural gas-fired turbines would have to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of carbon per mWh. New coal fired units would have to meet a limit of 1,100 pounds of carbon per mWh, and would have the option to meet a tighter limit if they opt to average emissions over multiple years.