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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

Government regulation

Changes in federal and state regulations will likely force MSU to transition to new energy sources.

Currently we have no national energy policy guiding organizations (such policies are under debate) making it a difficult planning environment for an energy transition. The federal government does have energy requirements, but they are applicable only to federal facilities. These requirements cover energy reduction, sustainability goals, renewable fuel production, and increasing energy security. Under the Clean Air Act, MSU is subject to the Clean Air Interstate Rules (CAIR) for ozone season for nitrous oxides (NOx) and the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for sulfur dioxides (SOx). Power plant boilers are subject to New Source Review (NSR) requirement which reviews any significant modifications to boilers. The Boiler MACT rule also imposes stricter air emissions standards, impacting the campus.

Meanwhile, many states have moved forward with energy regulations, but they vary in terms of how they are defined and performance levels. In Michigan, the Renewable Energy Standard required electric providers to achieve a retail supply portfolio that includes at least 10% renewable energy by 2015.

These regulations along with current debates in the states and in Congress clearly indicate that more energy and air emission regulation is forthcoming. A key part of this will be an effort to reduce manmade contributions to climate change, specifically global warming, through new regulations on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from man-made processes.

Fossil fuel electrical power generating stations such as MSU’s are prime targets for regulation. Current legislation in Congress calls for overall reductions of 17-20% by 2020 and over 80% by 2050, through a cap-and-trade program that began in 2012.