- The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Thursday adopted regulations that require all power plants to meet strict emissions limits, a move expected to phase out the state's remaining coal-fired power plants by 2020.
- The DEC is also working on proposed regulations that would restrict NOx emissions from power plants meeting peak demand. Combined, the rules would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.
- New York only has two remaining coal plants: the Somerset Generating Station near Barker and the Cayuga Station in the Finger Lakes. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D, in December pledged to bring the state to 100% clean energy, including nuclear, by 2040.
The size of the nation's coal fleet is steadily shrinking as market forces push plants into retirement.
On Thursday the Sierra Club announced 289 plants have closed since it launched its Beyond Coal campaign in 2010 — 51 coal plant retirements have been announced since President Donald Trump was elected in 2016.
New York is the "first in nation" to phase out coal plant through regulatory action, according to Cuomo's website.
The new rules require plants to meet an emissions limit of either 1,800 lbs/MWh gross electrical output or 180 lbs/mmBTU of input.
"Coal is the fuel that powered the industrial revolution but it has led us to the brink of climate change catastrophe," Assemblyman Steve Englebright, chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, said in a statement. "The adoption of new regulations requiring power plants to meet stringent CO2 limits will help New York become coal-free as well as meet its clean energy goals and reduce harmful air pollution."
The new regulations, along with the NOx proposal and other initiatives, are a part of New York's 2018 Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda. Cuomo's agenda has also yielded the state's 100% carbon-free goal, the NY Green Bank and a 3 GW energy storage target.
Environmental advocates celebrated the state's new regulations. New York "is leading the nation by finalizing the first of its kind regulation," Lisa Dix, a senior representative for the Sierra Club, said in a statement.
"Limiting the most polluting power plants is key to making sure New York hits our goal," said Dix. She said the organization looks forward to working with the state on the "necessary glidepath for communities and workers" as New York moves toward full decarbonization of the electricity sector.