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Category — War on Coal

Rolling Blackouts from EPA’s Utility MACT? FERC Commissioner Says a “Possibility”

“The actual justification for the Utility MACT, one of the most expensive and consequential regulations of all time, is to protect a supposed population of pregnant subsistence fisherwomen, who consume hundreds of pounds of self-caught fish from exclusively the most polluted inland bodies of fresh water.

I’ve documented this outrageous rationale here. [But] EPA has never actually identified a real-life member of this putative population of pregnant super-anglers with voracious appetites; rather, they are modeled to exist…. This regulation is nothing more than quid pro quo, business as usual, special-interest politics.”

On Sunday morning’s Platts Energy Week with Bill Loveless, FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller gave a bombshell interview regarding the clear and present danger to electric reliability posed by the EPA.

An excerpted transcript is posted below:

FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller: “We’re closing an enormous amount of coal generation, through a variety of rules, and a good number of those plants are set to retire next April. But most people would say about 90% of that capacity was running and used and necessary during the polar vortex events. So the question is: Are we going to have mild weather for the next 2-3 years? If so, we can probably get through it. But if we have more extreme weather events, like we had this winter, and that power is no longer available, we could be in a real situation that’s not good for consumers.

Platts Energy Week: Are regional blackouts a possibility?

FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller: They are a possibility. [Read more →]

April 30, 2014   6 Comments

Peltier Corrects: EPA’s CO2 Rule of ‘Great Strategic Benefit’ to Obama Administration

[Editor Note: In "Speaking of Power" (October 2012), POWER editor-in-chief Robert Peltier takes issue with a recent analysis concluding that the EPA's new CO2 rule for powerplants was inconsequential. Since his editorial was published, it was reported that a second wave of CO2 powerplant regulations are in the works.]

Cato Institute senior fellows Jerry Taylor and Peter Van Doren suggest in a recent Forbes blog that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) carbon pollution standard for new coal-fired power plants (Standard) is a meaningless skirmish in President Obama’s “war on coal.” But while the Standard may have no tangible impact on the industry in the future, it has great strategic benefit to the administration.

Going from Facts …

The blog posting, “President Obama’s Alleged ‘War on Coal’—Climate Change Edition,” correctly assesses the situation: First, the EPA’s recently proposed Standard covers only new coal-fired power plants built 12 months after the Standard goes into effect, perhaps in 2014, probably in 2015. The Standard limits carbon emissions from new plants to those of a typical gas-fired combined cycle plant. Because any additional emissions must be captured and sequestered, building a new coal plant under the proposed Standard isn’t practical or economic. The result: There are no new coal-fired plants on the drawing board in the U.S. The EPA, as the authors correctly point out, counts perhaps 15 “transitional sources” (other sources list 22) that may still be constructed as “grandfathered” plants. Ironically, if no new coal plants are constructed, the Standard produces no CO2 reductions.

Second, the authors correctly note that the long-term price of natural gas is expected to remain low. As they say, the “futures price for natural gas in August 2012 (the farthest out that one can buy gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange) is $3.01 per million BTU.” Industry new construction has focused on gas-fired plants and wind turbines for the past few years. [Read more →]

November 6, 2012   3 Comments