Electricity emissions management

Management of air emissions from electricity generation in Alberta.

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In 2006, the Alberta government adopted the recommendations of An Emissions Management Framework for the Alberta Electricity Sector Report to Stakeholders from the Clean Air Strategic Alliance (CASA).

This agreed to framework is aimed at comprehensively managing air emissions, including continuous improvement of air emissions standards for electricity generation in the province of Alberta. The 7 major components of the framework were designed to lead to improved performance and emission reductions.

Emissions Management Framework:

  • standards for new units
  • requirements for existing units
  • stakeholder review at 5-year intervals
  • monitoring transparency and accountability
  • continuous improvement
  • renewable and alternative energy
  • energy efficiency and conservation

Originally projected reductions were:

  • mercury: 50% by end of 2009
  • nitrogen dioxide: 32% by 2025
  • particulate matter: 51% by 2025
  • sulphur dioxide: 46% by 2025

To date, the framework is working as previously agreed to and being actively implemented.

For more on the framework, go to CASA – Electricity Framework Review

Managing air emissions

The Alberta government, industry and other stakeholders have developed an electricity emissions management framework, based on recommendations of the Clean Air Strategic Alliance Electricity Project Team.

Emissions Trading Program

The Emission Trading Regulation (Alberta Regulation 33 / 2006) encourages power stations to reduce their nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide emissions prior to mandatory improvements required in their Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) industrial approvals.

For more information on the emissions trading program, go to Emissions Trading Registry or email [email protected].

Mercury controls

Mercury emission control requirements have been in place at all coal-fired power plants since 2011.

  1. Mercury Emissions from Coal-fired Power Plants Regulation
  2. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) – Resources
  3. Summary Report on Canadian and American Legislative and Regulatory Initiatives for the Reduction of Mercury Emissions from Coal-Fired Power Plants

Potential hot spots

Standards and EPEA approval clauses

The Alberta government is actively implementing the new air emission limits standards for nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide through the 10-year approvals issued under EPEA. These power plant approvals are comprehensive and cover all environmental requirements an operator must meet.

Existing facility emission limits apply until a unit’s end of design life. After that, facility operators must then either retrofit to meet the new standards or utilize previously generated emissions credits.

New electricity generating units must meet standards of the day in effect at time of regulatory approval.

Emission Management Framework Review

The Electricity Emission Management Framework, along with the emission standards will be reviewed every 5 years, to encourage continuous improvement.

Links to the results of the 2 previous reviews are available at Clean Air Strategic Alliance.