The chart below comes from Wall Street Journal reporter Amy Harder. I have broken it into two pieces to make it more readable in a WordPress format. For understanding the level of effort EPA’s ‘Clean Power Rule’ will impose on each state, Harder’s chart is the place to begin.
Although EPA estimates its proposed rule will reduce power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, the agency did not use 2005 emissions data to set state-by-state CO2 reduction targets. Instead, Harder explains, EPA used 2012 and 2013 data to set different targets for each state “based on what it thinks each state can achieve by 2030, taking into account several factors including the energy mixes in the region and how much of its electricity each state can shift from coal to natural gas,” an electricity fuel that emits half as much CO2 as coal.
As shown in columns one and two of the chart, for 2012 EPA estimated each state’s CO2 emissions by weight in millions metric tons and electricity output in terawatts. From those data, EPA calculated each state’s 2012 CO2 emission rate or “standard” in pounds CO2 per megawatt hour (lbs/MWh), shown in column three. Columns four and five show each state’s standard for 2030 and the percent CO2 reduction required to meet it.
A key factor in how hard it will be for a state to achieve the percent CO2 reduction required by the 2030 standard is the current (2013) share of the state’s electricity generated from coal, shown in column six. A relatively small percent CO2 reduction can be more difficult for a state where coal’s share of electric generation is high than a relatively large percent CO2 reduction for a state where coal’s share is low.
“For instance,” writes Harder, “Kentucky only needs to cut its carbon emissions 18%, compared with Washington state’s 72% reduction requirement. But coal provides 93% of Kentucky’s electricity and just 6% of Washington’s. The one coal plant in the Evergreen State is already scheduled to retire by 2025.”
From which we may reasonably conclude Kentucky will incur substantial costs and Washington virtually none, hence investment and jobs will tend to migrate from Kentucky to Washington. And all because nature endowed the Bluegrass State with lots of coal and the Evergreen State with big rivers and proximity to Canadian hydropower. How’s that for fair and balanced?