Clear Skies in North Dakota
Highlights of Clear Skies in North Dakota
- North Dakota sources would reduce emissions of SO2 by 65%, NOx
by 51%, and mercury by 44% by 2020 due to Clear Skies.
- The health benefits in the West would total $8.6 billion annually
($1.6 billion under the alternative estimate) and include approximately
1,100 fewer premature deaths (600 under the alternative estimate)
and 2,500 fewer hospitalizations/emergency room visits each year.
Note: For the purposes of this analysis, the West includes all states that would be affected by the Zone 2 cap for NOx. These states are WA, OR, CA, UT, AZ, ID, MT, WY, CO, NM, TX, OK, KS, NE, ND, and SD.
- In addition, Western states would continue to enjoy good visibility
and the other benefits of a clean environment even in the face
of increasing demand for electricity.
- Clear Skies does not significantly impact electricity prices. With or without Clear Skies, electricity prices in the electricity supply region that includes North Dakota are expected to remain below 2000 national average prices.
Clear Skies: An Innovative Approach to Improving Human Health and the Environment
Why Clear Skies?
- Air quality has improved, but serious concerns persist.
- North Dakota's citizens suffer ill effects from air pollution, including asthma attacks and premature death
- Electricity generation sector remains a major emissions source
- Very cost-effective to control the power sector, relative to other sources
- Sources are concerned about upcoming complex and burdensome regulations
Advantages of the Clear Skies Approach
- Guarantees significant nationwide emissions reductions -- beginning
years before full implementation
- North Dakota sources would substantially reduce emissions of SO2, NOx, and mercury
- Delivers dramatic progress towards achievement of critical health and environmental goals
- Uses proven, market-based flexible approach with incentives
- Recognizes environmental needs as well as industry constraints, allowing industry to better manage its operations and finances while lowering risks to the public
- Sources are projected to install pollution controls to enable continued reliance on coal
- Increases certainty across the board for industry, regulators, and consumers
Under Current Clean Air Act Power Plants Would Face a Complex Set of Requirements
Clear Skies Sets a Firm Timeline for Emission Reductions
Note: Yellow states are states involved in the WRAP voluntary emissions reduction program.
- Clear Skies is designed to support the WRAP goals and process;
in addition to a national constraint on SO2, the bill ensures
that the WRAP's emissions reduction goal for nine states is achieved:
- If for any reason the regional reduction goal set by the WRAP for 2018 (271,000 tons for the power sector) is not achieved, a separate WRAP cap-and-trade program is triggered to ensure that the regional reductions are preserved.
- This special cap-and-trade program is based on the framework established in the WRAP process.
- This special cap can also be triggered by 2013 if States determine there is sufficient evidence that the target will not be met by 2018.
The West Faces Unique Challenges
- Environmental effects of power plant emissions - including visibility impairment and acid deposition - are broadly distributed
- Increasing ground-level ozone concentrations in national parks
- Particle-related haze in national parks and wilderness areas
- Nitrogen deposition in high elevation ecosystems (e.g., Colorado Front Range)
- Brown clouds in major cities
- Few western non-attainment areas are due to stationary source emissions
As the West Grows, Clear Skies Protects Human Health and the Environment
The West Will Continue to Grow...
- Population is projected to grow more than 20% from current levels by 2020
- Electricity demand is expected to grow more than the national
- More than 10% over national average in the Pacific States
- More than 30% over national average in the Mountain States
...While the Environment Is Protected
- Clear Skies would protect air quality by lowering or halting
increases in air emissions throughout the West from today's levels:
- Prevent degradation of visibility in parks.
- Help counties remain in attainment with health-based air quality standards, reducing the burden on state and local governments.
- Ensure nitrogen deposition does not increase and reduce mercury deposition.
Emissions in North Dakota under Clear Skies
| Emissions in North Dakota (2020) would be significantly reduced
from 2000 levels:
Emissions: Current (2000) and Existing Clean Air Act Regulations (base case*) vs. Clear Skies in North Dakota in 2010 and 2020
SO2 and NOx Emissions Reductions under Clear Skies
Note: The base case using IPM includes Title IV, the NOx SIP Call, NSR settlements, and state-specific caps in CT, MA, MO, NC, NH, TX, and WI. It does not include mercury MACT in 2007 or any other potential future regulations to implement the current ambient air quality standards or other parts of the Clean Air Act. Base case emissions in 2020 will likely be lower due to state and federal regulatory actions that have not yet been promulgated. Emissions projected from new sources in 2020 are not reflected.
Clear Skies Health and Air Quality Benefits in the West
Improve Public Health
- Reduced ozone and fine particle exposure by 2020 would result
in public health benefits of:
- approximately 1,100 fewer premature deaths each year (See note 1)
- approximately 800 fewer cases of chronic bronchitis each year
- approximately 1,800 fewer non-fatal heart attacks each year
- approximately 2,500 fewer hospital and emergency room visits each year
- Approximately 150,000 fewer days workers are out sick due to respiratory symptoms each year
- approximately 19,000 fewer school absences each year
- Reduced mercury emissions would reduce exposure to mercury through
consumption of contaminated fish, resulting in additional, unquantified
benefits to those who eat fish from lakes and streams in the West.
|By 2020, the West would receive approximately $8.6 billion in annual health benefits from reductions in fine particle and ozone concentrations alone due to Clear Skies. (See note 1)|
Help Maintain Health-Based Air Quality Standards (See note 2)
- All counties in North Dakota are currently expected to meet the 8-hour ozone and fine particle standards.
- Clear Skies would reduce concentrations of fine particles throughout
North Dakota, providing additional benefits to public health.
Clear Skies Would Provide Important Environmental Benefits in the West
Clear Skies would produce significant visibility benefits in highly visited national parks and wilderness areas in the West.
- Quantifiable visibility benefits in just 5 parks (Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Mesa Verde National Parks) total over $300 million.
- Visibility benefits in the Grand Canyon alone are estimated to be $100 million annually by 2020.
- Visibility improvements are also projected to improve tourism.
- In comparison to existing programs, nitrogen deposition would decrease by 5-20% in the inter mountain West, and in some areas, such as the Four Corners region, by up to 35%. Sulfur and mercury deposition would not increase despite growth in electricity demand.
Electricity Generation in North Dakota under Clear Skies
Current and Projected Generation by Fuel Type in North Dakota
under Clear Skies (GWh)
| North Dakota's sources are projected to reduce their emissions
through the installation of emission controls, rather than through
a switch from coal to natural gas.
Current and Projected Coal Production for Electricity Generation
Emission Controls in North Dakota under Clear Skies
Units in North Dakota Projected to Be Retrofitted Due to Clear Skies by 2020
|Plant Name||Unit ID||Technology|
|MILTON R YOUNG||B1||Scrubber*|
|MILTON R YOUNG||B2||SCR*|
* Retrofit was installed under Clear Skies by 2010
1. Retrofits and total coal-fired capacity apply to coal units greater than 25 MW.
2. RM Heskett unit B2 is projected to be removed from operation by 2005 with Clear Skies due to excess gas-fired capacity in the marketplace, unless otherwise needed for voltage purposes. The recent overbuild of gas-fired generation reduces the need for less efficient units operating at lower capacity factors. These units are inefficient compared to other coal-fired plants and newer gas-fired generation. Less conservative assumptions regarding natural gas prices or electricity demand would create a greater incentive to keep these units operational.
Electricity Prices in North Dakota under Clear Skies
With Clear Skies, retail prices are projected to be approximately 0.2 - 3.5% higher between 2005 and 2020 than in the absence of the legislation.
Note: The base case using IPM includes Title IV, the NOx SIP Call, NSR settlements, and state-specific caps in CT, MA, MO, NC, NH, TX, and WI. It does not include mercury MACT in 2007 or any other potential future regulations to implement the current air quality standards or other parts of the Clean Air Act. Base case emissions in 2020 will likely be lower due to state and federal regulatory actions that have not yet been promulgated.
Costs and Benefits in North Dakota under Clear Skies
Benefits Outweigh the Costs
Note: Costs include capital costs, fuel, and other operation and maintenance costs (both fixed and variable) associated with the achievement of the emissions caps in the legislation (for example, the installation and operation of pollution controls). These state-level production costs are estimates; they do not account for the costs associated with the transfer of electricity across regions, nor the costs or savings that could be associated with allowance movement between sources.
Notes on EPA's Analysis
1. An alternative methodology for calculating health-related benefits projects approximately 600 premature deaths prevented and $1.6 billion in health benefits each year in the West by 2020.
2. Based on 1999-2001 data for counties with monitors that have three years of complete data.