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      EPA announces new rules to get carbon out of electricity production

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 11 May, 2023 - 20:00 · 1 minute

    Images of smoke stacks and cooling towards.

    Enlarge / Natural gas plants like these may find themselves burning hydrogen over the next 20 years. (credit: Ron and Patty Thomas )

    Today, the Biden administration formally announced its planned rules for limiting carbon emissions from the electrical grid. The rules will largely take effect in the 2030s and apply to gas- and coal-fired generating plants. Should the new plan go into effect, the operators of those plants will either need to capture carbon or replace a large fraction of their fuel with hydrogen. The rules will likely hasten coal's disappearance from the US grid and start pushing natural gas turbines to a supplemental source of power.

    Whether they go into effect will largely depend on legal maneuvering and the results of future elections. But first, the rules themselves.

    Clearing the air

    Back in 2007, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Clean Air Act applied to greenhouse gas emissions . This allows the EPA to set state-level standards to limit the release of greenhouse gasses, with the states given some leeway on how they reach those standards. Since then, the court has clarified that these standards must be met on a per-plant basis rather than at the grid level; the EPA can't set rules that assume that the grid has more generation from solar and less from coal plants.

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      New study: A zero-emissions US is now pretty cheap

      John Timmer · news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Sunday, 31 January, 2021 - 13:00

    Image of a wind farm.

    Enlarge (credit: Picture Alliance / Getty Images )

    In many areas of the United States, installing a wind or solar farm is now cheaper than simply buying fuel for an existing fossil fuel-based generator. And that's dramatically changing the electricity market in the US and requiring a lot of people to update prior predictions. That's motivated a group of researchers to take a new look at the costs and challenges of getting the entire US to carbon neutrality.

    By building a model of the energy market for the entire US, the researchers explored what it will take to get the country to the point where its energy use had no net emissions in 2050—and they even looked at a scenario where emissions are negative. They found that, as you'd expect, the costs drop dramatically—to less than 1 percent of the GDP, even before counting the costs avoided by preventing the worst impacts of climate change. And, as an added bonus, we would pay less for our power.

    But the modeling also suggests that this end result will have some rather unusual features; we'll need carbon capture, but it won't be attached to power plants, for one example.

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