EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule
(replaces Clean Power Plan)
On June 19, 2019 the EPA released the final Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, which aims to reduce carbon pollution by increasing the efficiency of coal fired power plants. This rule replaces the Clean Power Plan (CPP), issued under the Obama administration, which the EPA under the Trump administration deemed to be an overreach of their authority under the Clean Air Act. Under this new rule, coal fired power plants must use the best technology option available to reduce the amount of wasted heat produced from burning coal. By employing these technologies, less coal needs to be burned to produce the same amount of electricity, therefore reducing the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere. ACE differs from CPP in that it establishes no minimum greenhouse gas reductions, only considers reducing waste heat at coal fired power plants as a means of reducing emissions, and does not incentivize increasing renewable energy. Since there are no coal fired power plants in Rhode Island, this rule will not apply to any power plant in the state. However, Rhode Island is a participating state of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a program that will continue to work to reduce our carbon emissions. The RGGI states have experienced a more than 50 percent reduction in power sector carbon pollution since 2005 while the regional economy has grown.