States Are Acting to Prevent Their Own Electricity Crisis

The Wall Street Journal editorial board warned recently that the Biden Administration’s climate agenda is forcing the retirement of fossil-fueled power plants that supply almost 60 percent of U.S. electricity.  These power plants are essential to satisfy America’s rapidly growing demand for electricity caused by power hungry data centers, new manufacturing facilities, electric vehicles, and other trends.  The WSJ piece follows similar warnings from electricity experts that extend over a seven-year period.  In spite of warnings almost too numerous to list, the Biden Administration continues to pursue policies that are threatening the reliability of our power supply.  For example, EPA is expected to finalize three new rules in the coming weeks that will cause the premature retirement of more coal-fueled power plants, even though coal generates at least half the electricity in seven states and at least 20 percent in 20 states.  Only nine states (grey below) use no coal at all.


Fortunately, some states are taking action to protect their electricity supplies and maintain affordable electricity prices. The Kentucky legislature voted to pass Senate Bill 349 to establish a commission that will review the adequacy of the state’s electricity supply and provide advice on whether the retirement of existing power plants would undermine the reliability of Kentucky’s electric grid. The commission’s broad membership – including energy experts, consumer advocates, and individuals representing all energy producing industries including nuclear, coal, gas, and renewables – will provide information to help the Kentucky Public Service Commission make sound decisions.  This approach could be used by other states concerned about their energy future.

Similarly, the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission took the unprecedented step of asking power provider Xcel Energy to reconsider its decision to close two coal-fueled power plants.  The commissioners noted that the closures “will elevate the risk of electricity outages,” particularly during extreme cold or heat and “are likely to pose a threat to life and property.”

With the Biden Administration increasing the risk of an electricity crisis, it has become even more important for states to take steps to protect their own electricity supplies.

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