The Biden administration plans to require power plants in 26 states to further reduce their emissions of nitrogen oxides. The draft plan will introduce a cap-and-trade program so utilities can trade their emission rights—a policy designed to reduce costs. Even so, says Sean Riley of Greenwire, the cost will be $1.1 billion by 2026; benefits, according to the EPA, will be $9.3 billion.
The stated goal is to reduce interstate spillovers of nitrogen oxides. Some “downwind” states have argued that nitrogen oxides from power plants in other states are making it difficult for them to meet a tight (70 parts per billion) standard for ozone. Nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds can combine to cause ozone, a main ingredient of smog.
Riley reports on the reaction of industry: “The power sector has cut its NOx emissions by 88 percent since 1990, with more than 40 percent of electricity now coming from ’emissions-free’ sources like nuclear, wind and solar, Alex Bond, deputy general counsel for climate and clean energy at the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, said in a statement.”