Output-based Emissions Regulations

Output-based air emission standards encourage efficiency and pollution prevention as a way to meet air quality goals.

Even though output-based regulations have been used for regulating many industries, input-based regulations have traditionally been used for boilers and power generation sources. In-put-based regulations can unintentionally create a penalty for clean and efficient generation. Input-based regulations set air pollution limits based on how much fuel is put into a generating unit, rather than how much energy is produced. With input-based regulations, the more fuel a plant burns, the easier it is to meet the standards-thereby discouraging efficiency.

Recently, air regulators have begun to make the switch from input-based to output-based regulations, as a way to promote pollution prevention, energy efficiency, flexibility, and innovation-while meeting the same air quality standards as before. Connecticut, Indiana, and Massachusetts are some of the states with output-based regulations.

Southwest Region Status: All of the states and local air quality districts in the southwest region still use input-based regulations. The U.S. DOE Southwest CHP Technical Assistance Partnership is available to assist states and air districts in evaluating output-based emissions, explaining the benefits, and helping advise a transition.

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