Basin Electric monitors proposed environmental regulations

Basin Electric Environmental Services and Government Relations teams are constantly monitoring, reviewing, and evaluating existing and proposed environmental regulatory activities that may impact the cooperative. The Biden Administration has increased focus on regulations affecting fossil fuel generation.

Below are the primary regulations Basin Electric is monitoring because of the potentially high impact on operations:

Greenhouse Gas – New Source Performance Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to establish Best System of Emission Reduction for new and reconstructed fossil fuel-based combustion turbines into three subcategories: low load, intermediate, and baseload.

Potential impact: If the rule is finalized as proposed, any new generation constructed by Basin Electric would need to meet the emissions standards proposed or limit operation.

Greenhouse Gas – Existing Source Performance Standards

EPA released a proposed rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, specifically carbon dioxide (CO2). For existing coal-fired steam generating units, EPA has proposed different levels of Best System of Emission Reduction, depending upon how long the unit will continue to operate.

Potential impact: Basin Electric coal plants would either need to install carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology, co-fire with natural gas, and/or cease operations by a determined date.

Regional Haze – Second Round

North Dakota and Wyoming are required to develop their second regional haze plan for the 2018-2028 timeline that achieves the reductions required to meet the Uniform Rate of Progress to natural conditions in Class I areas by 2064. North Dakota and Wyoming both determined that no additional controls were needed for Basin Electric facilities

Potential impact: North Dakota and Wyoming both determined that no additional controls were needed for Basin Electric facilities. EPA may disagree with that determination and attempt to require additional controls through a Federal Implementation Plan.

Coal Combustion Residuals Legacy Rule

EPA proposed regulation including previously unregulated inactive surface impoundments, changed definitions that may impact how previously closed impoundments would be treated, and additionally expanded regulations on a plant site that coal combustion residuals had been placed.

Potential impact: Basin Electric is evaluating the potential impacts to facilities should the rule be finalized as proposed.

Review of Electric Generating Units Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Proposed Rule

The proposed rule would tighten emissions limits, require additional monitoring, and eliminate the current lignite subcategory for mercury limits. Additionally, the rule proposes to reduce the limit and require continuous monitoring of particulate matter.

Potential impact: The proposed rule would increase the cost to control mercury emissions and likely require additional controls at some of Basin Electric’s coal-based plants. It is unknown what the cost would be. All coal-based plants would be required to install continuous particulate matter monitors.

Basin Electric will continue to monitor these and other potential regulations and how they might affect the cooperative’s efforts to provide reliable, affordable power.