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Energy Act 2013

Chapter 8: Emissions performance standard

35.The Emissions Performance Standard (EPS) imposes an “emissions limit duty” on operators of new fossil-fuel plant. The duty requires operators of a fossil-fuel plant to ensure that the plant does not emit more than a specified amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in each year of their operation, thereby reinforcing the existing policy (set out in national policy statements designated under the Planning Act 2008: National Policy Statement for Fossil Fuel Electricity Generating Infrastructure (EN-2)) that no new coal-fired power plant should be consented unless equipped with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology.

36.The Chapter establishes the EPS as an annual limit, equivalent to 450g of CO2 per kilowatt hour of electricity for a plant operating at baseload. For the purpose of the EPS, “baseload” is assumed as a plant operating at full output for 85% of the operating hours available in a year. The annual limit is in the form of an annual mass of emissions, i.e. tonnes of CO2 per annum. The limit is around half the level expected of new coal plant when operating unabated, which is nearly 800g/kWh. It is, however, above the level of modern combined cycle gas-fired power plant, which operate at below 400g/kWh.

37.The provisions in this Chapter, in addition to setting out the emissions limit duty, also provide for the circumstances in which it may be suspended or modified and provides powers for an appropriate national authority to make arrangements for establishing a monitoring and enforcement regime. They also provide that carbon capture and storage projects will be exempted from the emissions limit duty for a period of 3 years commencing from the start of operation of the CCS system. The exemption is available until end 2027.

38.The EPS is also included under section 66, which requires the Secretary of State to carry out a review of much of Part 2, as soon as is reasonably practicable, five years after Royal Assent, and report his or her conclusions to Parliament.

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