On August 20th, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio proposed rules governing greenhouse gas reporting and carbon dioxide control planning.  Parties wishing to file comments have until September 6th to file comments.

The most interesting aspect of the rule is it proposes to mandate all electric generating facilities in Ohio become participating members in the Climate Registry.  It also mandates electric generating facilities to report report greenhouse gas emissions according to protocols approved by the Climate Registry.  While Senate Bill 221 provided discretion to the PUCO to establish the level of participation in the Climate Registry, the Commission has decided to mandate participation.

I’m sure the Commission will receive comments on their definition of "electric generating facility" covered by the mandatory reporting requirement.  The definition is as follows:

"Electric generating facility" means an electric generating plant and associated facilities capable of producing electricity.

There is no minimum size requirement specified in the proposed rule.  Therefore, it would appear an electric generating facility of virtually any size under PUCO’s jurisdiction faces a mandatory reporting requirement.

I would also expect comments from the Utilities that the mandatory reporting requirements should wait until U.S. EPA proposes its mandatory greenhouse gas reporting rule in September.  U.S. EPA’s reporting rule will specify required reporting as well as include limitations on the size of the generating unit covered by the mandatory reporting requirement. 

U.S. EPA propose rule will also shine light on the interplay between the Climate Registry and mandatory federal reporting requirements. Perhaps the Commission left themselves some wiggle room by inserting "or as otherwise directed by the Commission" right after the mandate to participate in the Climate Registry.

The rule also requires each owner and operator of a electric generating facility to file an annual report specifying its control plan for both criteria pollutants (NOx, SO2) and for carbon dioxide.  However, the rule lacks any specificity as to what elements must be included in the plan.  The proposed rule requires the environmental control plan include:

"…all relevant technical information on current conditions, goals, and potential actions based upon the current scientific and engineering design capability of any facility…to control emissions of criteria pollutants and carbon dioxide within the parameters of economically feasible best technology."