Why Incur So Much Pain for No Climate Gain?

The Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board recently published an opinion piece, Your Coming Summer of Blackouts,” following the release of NERC’s 2023 Reliability Assessment which reported two-thirds of the country is at elevated risk of power outages this summer. The Journal highlighted EPA’s Good Neighbor Plan as a “new variable” in avoiding blackouts, but in our president and CEO, Michelle Bloodworth’s Letter-to-the-Editor, she points to the proposed Carbon Rule as a greater threat to grid reliability. This replacement to the Clean Power Plan sets an unrealistic deadline for utilities to retire coal plants, mix coal with natural gas, or install carbon-capture technology. Just last week, the Senate Energy Committee heard from grid operators and electricity providers who expressed concern about the impact of EPA regulations. Coal remains a reliable and affordable source of electricity, unlike other alternatives that are susceptible to supply disruptions or dependent on weather conditions. Read our Letter-to-the-Editor here, or below: 

America’s Power Letter-to-the-Editor:

“The North American Electric Reliability Corporation characterizes the EPA’s Good Neighbor rule as a “reliability issue.” NERC points out that electricity generators might need waivers from the rule to prevent power outages. This, however, is only one of several EPA rules that could lead to outages. The latest, and arguably the worst, is the EPA’s proposal to replace the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which was rejected by the Supreme Court. The new proposal is intended to fight climate change, though it would reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions by less than a tenth of a percent.

“Depending on a few factors, the proposed rule gives utilities less than three years to retire their coal plants, mix natural gas with coal or install carbon-capture technology. To illustrate the absurdity, experts say it takes at least nine years to install carbon-capture technology, provided there are no glitches. Even then, carbon capture would cost a billion dollars to install on a coal plant.

“The ridiculous deadline and enormous cost of compliance mean more premature coal retirements. Coal is an irreplaceable source of electricity for the foreseeable future because it is affordable and not vulnerable to supply disruptions, like natural gas, or dependent on weather, like wind and solar. The proposed rule is another EPA overreach and should be opposed by states not interested in a greater risk of blackouts.”

Michelle Bloodworth

President and CEO, America’s Power

Appeared in the June 3, 2023, print edition as ‘Why Incur So Much Pain for No Climate Gain?’.