Greenhouse Gases

EPD Greenhouse Gas Programs

Greenhouse gases (GHGs), including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases, and others, contribute to global climate change. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides information on climate change, GHGs, and GHG emissions, as well as information on their related activities.

While the EPA is supporting GHG reductions from the transportation sector and the oil and natural gas sectors directly, it relies more on states to implement GHG tracking and reduction from stationary sources such as power plants, large landfills, and industrial facilities. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD) is tasked with implementing the regulations and policies of the EPA within the state, including providing support for meeting Federal requirements. Currently, EPA and GA EPD actions involving GHGs include:

1. Reducing carbon emissions from power plants.

New Power Plants 
On August 3, 2015, the EPA set the first uniform national limits on the amount of carbon pollution that future electric utility generating units (EGUs) will be allowed to emit. Future EGUs are defined as having commenced construction or modified/reconstructed after January 8, 2014 or June 18, 2014, respectively. Under this rule, new natural gas-fired turbines of all sizes of base load units must meet a limit of 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour (lbs CO2/MWh). New coal-fired units must meet a limit of 1,400 lbs CO2/MWh, and this performance is expected to be achievable by employing supercritical pulverized coal (SCPC) with partial carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Existing Power Plants
On August 3, 2015, the EPA set the first uniform national limits on the amount of carbon pollution that existing electric utility generating units (EGUs), which commenced construction before January 8, 2014, will be allowed to emit. Under the Clean Air Act Section 111-d, EPA issued a final rule with a goal to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. By 2030 each state must meet its designated goal, in the form of an emission performance rate or of an emissions mass standard. Georgia is developing a state plan to meet an emission performance rate of 1,049 pounds of CO2 per megawatt-hour (lbs CO2/MWh) or 46,346,846 tons of CO2 as an alternative. The initial state plan is due by September 6, 2016, with the final plan due by September 6, 2018. GA EPD is holding a series of stakeholder meetings addressing this rule.

2. Greenhouse Gas Reporting

The EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program collects greenhouse gas data from large emission sources (facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons of GHGs or more per year), as well as suppliers of products that could emit greenhouse gases. Monitoring of GHG data began in 2010 for most sources. In total, 41 source categories report GHG data which account for 85-90% of U.S. GHG emissions. Data, data viewing tools, and reports are available. In addition, the EPA has prepared an annual Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks report to track total national emissions of GHGs since 1990, reporting more than 20 years of GHG emission trends.

At the state level, in response to a unanimous recommendation by the Governor’s Energy Policy Council that the GA EPD provide an updated state GHG inventory every three years, the GA EPD developed two statewide Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory Reports. The reports, published in November 2008 and January 2012, are available at the bottom of the page.

3.  Greenhouse Gas Permitting

Beginning January 2, 2011, permits are required for GHG emissions from the largest stationary sources under the EPA New Source Review Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V Operating Permit Programs. The GA EPD implements these requirements and provides permits for facilities within the state. Basically, permits are required for new sources that will emit 100,000 tons of GHGs per year or more and for existing sources that increase GHG emissions by 75,000 tons per year or more. Generally only very large facilities such as power plants and refineries reach these thresholds. Approximately 3 Title V permits for GHGs only and approximately 4 GHG limiting PSD permits have been issued under these programs in Georgia. View more about Greenhouse Gas Permitting.

Georgia Greenhouse Gas Inventory

The following reports describe Greenhouse Gas emissions for the state of Georgia, calculated using the US EPA State Inventory Tool (SIT).