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Canada to Phase In New Emission Rules for Coal Plants

Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced the country will phase in greenhouse-gas emissions standards for coal-powered energy facilities to give the industry time to adopt cleaner technologies.

The government will mandate that traditional coal-fired plants either meet new standards that will be announced next year, or close once they reach the end of their “economic life,” Prentice said today in Ottawa. Thirty-three of Canada’s 51 coal-burning units will reach the end of their economic life by 2025, he said.

“A responsible, clear phase-out of the electricity sector’s inefficient coal-fired generation will allow ample time for the implementation of clean generation technologies,” Prentice said in a statement.

The rules will take effect on July 1, 2015, and draft regulations will be published early next year, Prentice said. The new standards will be based on bringing coal plants to “parity” with the emissions performance of high-efficiency natural gas generation, he said.

New regulations are part of Canada’s response to the Copenhagen accord on greenhouse-gas emissions. Prentice announced new rules for truck emissions last month and harmonized the country’s automobile regulations with those of the U.S. in April.

Because it relies less on coal for electricity than the U.S. and its plants will need to be replaced sooner, Canada is setting its own rules instead of harmonizing with those of its southern neighbor, Prentice said in a June 15 speech.

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