The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said Aug. 16 that it met that day with representatives from U.S. EPA, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP), Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), Dayton Power and Light and FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) to discuss how new rules requiring air emissions cuts will be implemented in the state.
On April 1, the U.S. EPA finalized the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, which requires the application of maximum achievable control technology (MACT) standards to power plants. Utilities have three years, until April 16, 2015, to install the new air pollution controls and comply with the rule. However, utilities may request, and states may grant, the companies up to one extra year to install the new controls or replace sources.
“Ohio EPA is working with U.S. EPA, PUCO and the state’s utilities to ensure that these companies have the time needed to properly install new pollution controls,” said Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally. “We will review each request for more time and grant extra time to companies that have legitimately documented the need.”
Ohio EPA, with an approved Title V air permit program and delegated authority to enforce the U.S. EPA MACT standards, noted that it has the sole authority to grant utilities up to an extra year to comply with these federal standards.
Due to various U.S. EPA initiatives, including MATS and the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, power companies are shutting or will shut a number of coal-fired power plants in Ohio, with some other coal units to get emissions retrofits.
For example, DP&L, a unit of AES Corp. (NYSE: AES), filed April 13 at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio a basic air compliance plan. In that plan, DP&L said it is reviewing the final MATS regulations to determine the impact of the standards on existing plants. “We believe that the Stuart and Killen stations will be able to meet the final limits,” the utility reported. “The requirements imposed on Beckjord Unit 6 and Hutchings Station are very costly.”
Fortunately, DP&L said it has invested heavily in modern air pollution control systems. The selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) systems at the Stuart and Killen stations are well suited for future NOx and SO2 obligations. DP&L anticipates that the FGD in conjunction with SCR operation will likely meet the mercury, toxic metals, and acid gas removal obligations found in the MATS rule without the installation of additional controls.