In the wake of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulations surrounding emissions from fossil-fueled power plants, comes a report which assesses the implications of such policies. The report, released by the Institute for Energy Research (IER), calls for an immediate moratorium on closure of coal plants to protect reliability, and maintain affordability and security of the nation’s energy system.
The report contends that coal met 92 percent of the year-over-year incremental electricity demand during the first two months of 2014 and that, without coal plants, parts of New England, the Midwest and other regions would have experienced brownouts and blackouts in early 2014 that could have been an economic, health and safety disaster. Next winter the very plants that kept the lights on may not be operating. States that will be especially hard hit by federal regulations include Pennsylvania, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia and Wyoming.
“Our electric grid has been called the most complex machine ever made. When Americans flip a switch they expect their lights to come on. During the hot summer months they can count on their air conditioning to cool their homes,” said Thomas Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, the organization releasing the report. “The Obama administration’s anti-coal policies threaten our electric grid and our way of life by promoting policies that deliberately cut one of our most abundant, affordable, and reliable sources of electricity. This report should serve as a wake-up call that their policies are already having profound impacts, and when combined with a flurry of new regulations, the way forward for Americans may include an electric system that is not there when we need it.”
By taking coal out of the energy mix, price increases on electricity sources across the board will be necessary, and proposed policies will significantly increase wholesale electric rates — by as much as 80 percent — the report contends.