Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting – General Provisions

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If you are following the new 40 CFR 98 Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (GHG Rule) you will know that facilities were to have started collecting reporting data on January 1, 2010.  You may be studying the requirements specific to your facility or industry group, but be sure to also take a careful look at Subpart A – General Provisions.  Subpart A contains provisions that are applicable to all facilities subject to the GHG Rule requirements.  A thorough understanding of Subpart A is a necessary prerequisite to complying with this new regulation.  Key elements include:

  •  Who must report;
  • When you can stop reporting;
  • How and when reports must be submitted;
  • What the annual report must contain;
  • Special provisions that have been made for 2010 reporting;
  • Recordkeeping requirements;
  • Calibration requirements; and
  • Definitions as well as tables of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and their global warming potentials.

The who, how, and when of reporting were addressed in our December 23, 2009 posting, but it is important to note that reporting is required on a facility-specific basis.  A facility, as defined in Subpart A, can be limited to a single stationary piece of equipment that emits a GHG.

The criteria for determining when reporting can cease is a function of whether or not the facility continues to emit GHGs and at what levels.  Continuous annual reporting is required unless:

  • The facility has five consecutive years of emissions below 25,000 metric tons (mt);
  • Three consecutive years of emissions below 15,000 mt; or
  • All GHG-emitting processes and operations subject to the rule cease to operate (although this provision does not apply to MSW landfills).

At least 60 days prior to submitting the first annual report, an electronic certificate of representation must be submitted to EPA.  EPA expects each facility to have only one designated representative who will be responsible for certifying, signing, and submitting GHG reports.  The contents of the annual report will include:

  • Facility name or supplier name and address;
  • The period of time covered by the report;
  • The date of the report;
  • For facilities – annual emissions of GHG as follows:
    • aggregate annual emissions (excluding biogenic CO2) for all GHG from all applicable source categories and expressed as carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e);
    • aggregate annual emissions of biogenic CO2e;
    • individual GHG totals for each applicable source category; and
    • other data as specified in the respective subparts.
  • For suppliers – annual quantities of GHG that would be emitted from combustion or use of the supplied products during the year, as follows:
    • aggregate annual emissions for all GHG from all applicable supply categories expressed as CO2e;
    • individual GHG totals for each applicable supply category; and
    • other data as specified in the respective subparts.

One special provision for the 2010 report is the allowance for best available monitoring methods.  EPA expects GHG emissions to be estimated according to the specified methods.  However, due to the limited notice provided prior to the effective date, if it was not reasonably feasible to acquire, install, and operate required monitoring equipment by January 1, 2010, then best available monitoring methods may be used until March 31, 2010.  Best available methods may include:

  • Monitoring methods currently used by the facility that do not meet the specification of the relevant subpart;
  • Supplier data;
  • Engineering calculations; and
  • Other company records.

Extensions for continued use of best available monitoring methods beyond April 1, 2010 may be requested, but such requests need to be submitted by January 28, 2010.

Another special provision for the 2010 report applies to facilities where the only sources of CO2e are general stationary fuel combustion.  For such facilities, a simplified report will be accepted.  It would include the aggregate facility-wide GHG emissions and associated process information as well as general facility information and certification.

Records must be maintained for three years in either electronic or hard-copy format.  Specific records that must be retained include:

  • A list of all units, operations, processes, and activities for which GHG emissions were calculated;
  • The data used to calculate GHG emissions including:
    • emission calculations,
    • analytical results for the development of site-specific emission factors,
    • results of all required analyses (e.g., high heat value and carbon content), and
    • any facility operating data or process information used in GHG calculations,
  • Annual GHG reports;
  • Missing data documentation;
  • A written GHG Monitoring Plan;
  • The results of all required certification and quality assurance (QA) tests of continuous monitoring systems, flow meters, and other instrumentation; and
  • Maintenance records for all continuous monitoring systems, flow meters, and other instrumentation.

The written GHG Monitoring Plan needs to identify who is responsible for collecting the data, what processes and methods are used to collect the data, and what procedures and methods are used for quality assurance, maintenance, and repair of all continuous monitoring systems, flow meters, and other relevant instrumentation.

Relative to QA, EPA expects facilities to calibrate their flow meters and other measurement devices prior to April 1, 2010.  Fuel billing meters are exempted from the requirement, but unless a device cannot be removed because of continuous operation, calibration in accordance with manufacturer recommendations is required.  If a postponement in calibration is needed due to continuous operations, it must be documented in the GHG Monitoring Plan.

Other important elements of Subpart A include definitions that are applicable to the remaining subparts as well as Table A-1 that lists all 70 GHGs and their respective assigned global warming potentials.

CEC recommends that facilities develop a thorough GHG Monitoring Plan to document both the applicability determination as well as procedures that will be used to collect the required data, meet the QA requirements, and estimate emissions.  In our next posting we will take an in-depth look at Subpart C – General Stationary Fuel Combustion Sources.

If you have any questions regarding the requirements of Subpart A or other portions of the GHG Rule, please contact one of CEC’s GHG experts, Kris Macoskey. Their contact information can be found on the CEC Experts page.

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