The Institute for Energy Research (IER) posted an editorial on its web site yesterday that deals with the EPA’s coal regulations and how this will impact the electric grid reliability in America.
The editorial notes:
The Obama administration has a long, anti-coal, oil, and natural gas track record. According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), their anti-coal, oil, and natural gas zeal will soon start affecting the reliability of the electric grid.
NERC is recognized by the federal government as the leading authority on electric reliability. As the organization that ensures the reliability of the electric grid, NERC recently found that existing and proposed environmental regulations in the United States may significantly affect bulk power system reliability. In fact, according to NERC, “environmental regulations are shown to be the number one risk to reliability over the next one to five years”.[i]
Beyond the 38 gigawatts of electricity capacity that has already been announced to retire, NERC estimates that another 36 to 59 gigawatts of capacity will come off-line by 2018, depending on the “scope and timing” of EPA regulations. Together nearly a quarter of our coal-fired capacity could be off-line by 2018, marking the first time in energy history that installed coal-fired capacity has declined.
The NERC has found that several proposed EPA regulations will expose the U.S. to serious energy vulnerabilities: the Clean Water Act – Cooling Water Intake Structures; MACT Standards; Cross State Air Pollution Rule and Coal Combustion Residuals.
NERC estimates that as many as 677 coal-fired plants will need to temporarily shut down to install EPA-mandated equipment, which constitutes an impact on over 70% of our total coal-fired capacity.
There are good reasons to believe that EPA’s regulations will force more generating units off line. According to the Edison Electric Institute, for example, about 48 gigawatts of coal units at 231 plants will be retired between 2010 and 2022. That capacity represents 14 percent of the 339 gigawatts of coal-fired power capacity in 2010, or about 5 percent of total generating capacity.[ii]
IER believes that for the first time in history, our coal-fired capacity will decrease instead of increase – thanks to Obama’s determination to wipe out coal-fired power plants.