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EPA AWARDS EIGHT UTILITIES FOR POLLUTION PREVENTION MEASURES REDUCING ACID RAIN EMISSIONS
Release Date: 01/29/99
FOR RELEASE: FRIDAY, JAN. 29, 1999
EPA AWARDS EIGHT UTILITIES FOR POLLUTION PREVENTION
MEASURES REDUCING ACID RAIN EMISSIONS
The EPA today announced the award of 4,301 acid rain bonus allowances to eight electric power utilities for undertaking energy efficiency and renewable energy measures. These energy-saving measures reduce consumer demand for fossil fuel power generation, thereby reducing emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) -- the key ingredient in acid rain -- earlier than required by the Clean Air Act (CAA). These energy measures also reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the chief global warming gas, and nitrogen oxides (NOX), another ingredient in the formation of acid rain. Today's eight awardees and number of allowances received: Commonwealth Electric Company in Massachusetts, 90 allowances received; Cambridge Electric Light Company, Massachusetts, 12 allowances; New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG), New York, 1,375 allowances; Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA), Florida, 12 allowances; ESI Energy, Florida, 135 allowances; City of Austin, Texas, 1,099 allowances; Sierra Pacific Power Company, Nevada, 623 allowances; and Portland General Electric Company, Oregon, 955 allowances. Apart from the bonus allowances announced today, the CAA also provides that the EPA allocate a limited number of regular allowances to all utilities to ensure that nationwide SO2 emissions will be cut in half by the year 2010 -- to less than nine million tons annually. (An electric utility must hold one allowance for every ton of SO2 emitted). Utilities that make early emission reductions through energy-saving measures, however, can receive bonus SO2 allowances that have market value and can be traded or saved for future use. Bonus allowances come from the Conservation and Renewable Energy Reserve, a special pool of 300,000 allowances that was set aside by Congress to reward utilities that voluntarily adopt pollution prevention projects. Even though the bonus program ends in the year 2000, utilities can continue to benefit from the SO2 emission reductions derived from pollution prevention projects: since every ton of SO2 emitted uses up one allowance, less emissions means more allowances that the utility can bank or sell. The Reserve allowances granted today will not interfere with attainment of the nine million ton SO2 limit in 2010. The EPA also emphasizes that no matter how many allowances a utility holds, it will not be allowed to emit SO2 at levels that would violate national or state health protection standards. Today’s ninth award of bonus allowances is part of the EPA's market-based, cost-efficient approach to Clean Air Act implementation. Since the Conservation and Renewable Energy Reserve Program started in 1993, the EPA has awarded a total of 33,904 bonus allowances, including today's allowances. These awards represent emission reductions of roughly 12.7 million tons of CO2, 50,008 tons of SO2, and 46,617 tons of NOX between the years 1992 and 1997. For further technical information on the awards, contact Rayenne Chen at 202-564-9194 or the Acid Rain Hotline at 202-564-9620.