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New Year, New Developments: A Look at 2015

Posted By Betsy Natz, Friday, January 30, 2015
Updated: Friday, January 30, 2015

With every New Year comes new, clean air initiatives and technologies.


In our case, these new initiatives and clean air technologies mean a more successful year as an organization, and industry. But our efforts don’t stop at new technologies, there’s much, much more to be done on our part. Together, we must continue to make strides toward limiting emissions and creating more flexible and sound clean air policies.  


As leaders in the air pollution control sector, we’ll look back at 2014 as a time filled with control and monitoring system development while looking forward to a fresh start and a new year of innovative technological evolution. Here’s what we can expect for 2015:

  • Carbon Pollution Rule
    While the EPA prepares its final rules on carbon pollution, we look forward to “mid-summer” updates on regulations covering new, existing and modified power plants. These new regulations help lay the foundation for Obama's Climate Action Plan and will help set emissions limits for power plants across the nation.

  • Methane Reduction Plan
    A methane reduction plan is in the works, including direct regulations on emissions wells from new oil and natural gas. As a critical component of President Obama’s goal to reduce emissions by as much as 45 percent by 2025, the EPA has noted the possibility of directly regulating methane emissions from existing oil and gas wells in the future.

  • New National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
    Proposed by the EPA, a new ozone national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) may be in the pipeline for us, featuring between 65 parts per billion and 70 ppb. But that’s not all, the EPA will take comments on the current standard of 75 ppb, or lowering the standard to 60 ppb. The final rule is expected by early October.


While these are just a few of the many initiatives for 2015 put forth to help lead the efforts to improve air quality, this year’s regulatory agenda will play an integral role in the progression of our monitoring and control systems for years to come. 


Check back here for updates to keep up with the latest movements on industry regulations. Learn how to get involved in the discussion and join our efforts as we work for a cleaner, healthier tomorrow.

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Tags:  air quality  clean air technologiesclean power plan  EPA  pollution control 

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Will you join us in the Clean Power Plan discussion?

Posted By Betsy Natz, Thursday, December 18, 2014
Updated: Thursday, December 18, 2014
How are you taking action? As the voice for our industry, we work to engage in events that will push our issues front and center, where it counts. 
 
Most recently, our organization, provided comments to the Federal EPA in response to the Clean Power Plan:
  • ICAC urged the EPA to reconsider the section of the proposed regulation on heat rate improvement, 
  • ICAC disagreed with the EPA’s proposal to increase the Natural Gas Combined Cycle capacity factor from 48% to 70%,
  • And more.
Last week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a press release announcing a series of conferences aimed at discussing and collecting input on compliance with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan rule. These events will begin with a Commission-led National Overview session at FERC headquarters on February 19, 2015 and will continue to St. Louis, Denver, and Washington, DC. 
 
We welcome these opportunities to provide advice and comments on the Clean Power Plan and encourage those across the industry to also provide feedback through these forums. Attending these events will help us have a stronger voice on energy policy development. Your participation will also help ensure that the nation’s energy markets and infrastructure adapt to support compliance with the proposed Clean Power Plan. Will you join us?

Tags:  clean power plan  EPA 

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Giving Thanks for New Technologies

Posted By Betsy Natz, Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Clean AirIf there's one thing to give thanks for this holiday season, it's the new technologies that have sprung up, paving the way for cleaner air and a healthier tomorrow. While we use pollution control technologies and tracking systems to measure the impact of pollution on people's everyday lives, new studies have shown great progress in a pollution tracking system like none other: social media.

 

As representatives of the air pollution control industry, we know that tracking pollution in some of the world’s largest cities can be next to impossible. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are shedding light on social media as a new approach to the issue, presenting this innovative solution as a way to assist in mapping pollution by user feedback. But how?

 

Researchers tested this digitally focused initiative in China, one of the most polluted countries in the world. Mining a Twitter-like social platform ‘Sina Weibo,’ they monitored posts relative to air quality. Using both word choices and author locations to estimate the air quality of a given region, this study highlighted feedback and the perspectives from inhabitants of 108 different cities over the course of 30 days. After compiling the data, the researchers found that the levels of pollution directly correlated with tweets around bad or good air quality in those cities. 

 

This study offers a way for those of our industry to acquire information on if and how pollution is affecting people in certain regions throughout the world. While this pollution tracking system may not be the end-all solution for our industry, it allows us to keep an open mind when it comes to new technologies and data.  

 

Be it digital or not, feedback and perspective drive policy. Adopting these new initiatives will help us help our lawmakers form legislation to better combat, and end air pollution. 

 

Tags:  air quality  clean air technologies  pollution control 

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EPA Releases NODA for Proposed Clean Power Plan

Posted By Doug Austin, Monday, November 3, 2014
On October 28, EPA issued a notice of data availability (NODA), related to the proposed Clean Power Plan.  Federal agencies routinely use NODAs to provide the public with an opportunity to consider and comment on emerging technical issues and data related to an ongoing rulemaking.  The notice responds to issues the EPA has already received in comments on the proposed rule.
 
Issues include allowing states to take credit for early actions to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, expanded use of natural gas-fired power plants and the possibility of setting a multiyear baseline for state emissions rates.
 
EPA's proposal would set interim emissions targets for states between 2020 and 2029 with a final emissions rate target to be achieved in 2030, which the agency refers to as the glide path.  Some states have expressed concern with that approach because it requires them to achieve the bulk of their emissions reductions early, leaving little flexibility for later emissions reductions.  The agency is seeking comment on an approach that would give states credit for early carbon dioxide emissions reductions achieved prior to when the 2020 interim targets take effect.
 
EPA is also asking whether state targets for transitioning electricity generation from coal-fired power plants to natural gas should be phased in.  While the EPA isn't requiring states to specifically shift generation from coal to natural gas, states have said they would be required to significantly increase generation from natural gas to meet the agency's interim targets. Facilitating that transition could require installing new pipelines or other infrastructure.
 
EPA is also exploring the possibility of setting renewable energy targets on a regional basis that would better reflect how the industry actually operates.  States have questioned how renewable energy investments would be credited — either to the state where the electricity is generated or to the state where that electricity is consumed.
 
EPA in its notice also said it would consider state requests for a multiyear baseline for the proposed emissions rates for states. The proposed rule requires states to achieve the emission reductions from a 2012 baseline, but EPA released emissions data from 2010 and 2011 as well after some states suggested using a multiyear baseline would provide a more accurate picture of power plant emissions.  States have said that a single year baseline may not reflect variations in power plant emissions that occur over time.  EPA said it had considered a multiyear baseline when it wrote the proposed rule but found that averaging out over multiple years would only produce minimal changes to the state emissions rate targets.
 
In addition to the notice of data availability, the EPA plans to issue additional guidance to states for converting their carbon dioxide targets from rate-based standard to a mass-based standard in order to facilitate emissions trading.  

To see the NODA, go to http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2014-10/documents/20141028noda-clean-power-plan.pdf

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My View on the Obama Administration's Clean Power Plan

Posted By Stanley Mack, Monday, November 3, 2014

The Clean Power Plan is a noble effort to address the concerns regarding climate change.  The members of the Institute of Clean Air Companies have been actively involved in solving clean air problems for the energy sector for decades.  As we review the building blocks of the proposed plan, we believe that achieving the goal of the first building block of 6% heat rate improvement will be technically very difficult.  

The second building block can have an impact of negating the first building block by reducing capacity factors for coal plants and reducing heat rate.  Power plants are tuned for optimum operation every day, and disrupting this through greater cycling and part load operation is certainly challenging.  

At the same time our member companies have technologies that can dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions beyond-the-fence-line that can achieve dramatic reductions cost effectively and without jeopardizing grid reliability.

 

For more on the ICAC please go here.

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A Fresh, New Look: Welcome to the Institute of Clean Air Companies

Posted By Betsy Natz, Monday, November 3, 2014

My name is Betsy Natz and I am the Executive Director of the Institute of Clean Air Companies (ICAC). I welcome you to our newly redesigned website and our first-ever blog, better known to us at ICAC as the new powerhouse of ICAC news.

I speak for myself and my dedicated members when I say that we are all very excited to share with you the launch of our redesigned website and this invaluable social media tool that will help us further our widespread engagement throughout the stationary source air pollution control and monitoring industry.

I encourage you all to view our enhanced website, and enjoy the new ICAC online environment that we hope delivers:

  • A sleek new look and feel that is easily navigable;
  • A user-friendly environment;
  • Fresh, new content; and
  • A user-engaged community.

Check out our refreshed look or see what our divisions and committees are up to, view our recently introduced Market Forecast and membership kit or simply get the discussion moving and engage with us on our LinkedIn Group page.

Whether you're a member of our organization or not, you can look to our blog as a powerful digital hub, providing updates on the great strides made by our organization and its member companies as well as overall industry progress. Our hopes are that we will provide you with the most relevant, up-to-the-minute news, information and insights from industry leaders about issues impacting our field.

But don't be shy, we also invite you to share your knowledge with us, too. If you're interested in contributing to our blog, or offering your feedback on our website, we're happy to hear it, just send us a note!

We look forward to sharing our new, enhanced online atmosphere and the ICAC perspective with you.

Betsy Natz

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