Special Report – U.S. ‘clean coal’ program fails to deliver on smog cuts, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld
The New Madrid plant in southeast Missouri, for example, has seen its production of NOx soar to a higher rate than any other U.S. coal plant while burning refined coal. In 2017, the plant’s NOx emission rate was 298 percent higher than it recorded in 2009, before New Madrid started burning clean coal, according to the EPA. During the first quarter of 2018, the rate jumped even further, to seven times the 2009 level.
Associated Electric said the increase in NOx emissions at New Madrid was due in part to the cooperative’s purchasing tradable pollution credits through the U.S. cap-and-trade system. The market-based system sets an overall limit on pollution, and allows power plants that cut their pollution to earn credits that can be stockpiled or sold to other polluters. When large volumes of credits are generated, the cost of buying them can be lower than the cost of running pollution control equipment.
“At times during the last seven years Associated has met compliance with emissions rules by purchasing NOx credits from the cap-and-trade markets, rather than running the control equipment all year,” the electric cooperative said in a statement, which it issued through Goldman Sachs spokesman Michael DuVally.