U.S. EPA should reconsider its proposal for existing power plants in order to keep a reliable supply of inexpensive power flowing to consumers, a group of 17 current and future utility commissioners said today.
In a letter organized by the National Mining Association’s Count on Coal campaign, the officials called EPA’s June 2 proposal an assault on reliable and affordable power.
“Our concern with the EPA’s proposed carbon rules is that they fail to adequately forecast the serious economic and reliability impacts of dramatically reduced or even elimination of coal-fired generation,” they wrote.
The proposal relies on four so-called building blocks in setting state carbon intensity targets — including a state’s capacity to ramp up the use of existing combined-cycle natural gas power plants to replace power from coal-fired units. The draft’s supporting documents estimate that up to 19 percent of the nation’s coal plants will become “uneconomical” as a result of the rule, though it does not compel states to achieve their standards by reducing reliance on coal.
But that did not comfort the utility commissioners, many of whom could have a role in crafting their state responses to the federal rule.
The letter pointed to an analysis by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, which predicted that the rule would drive up power rates in the Buckeye State by 30 percent, mostly as a result of reduced coal use.
EPA officials say any increase in power rates due to the rule will be offset by reduced demand, keeping electricity bills steady.
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- On September 19, 2014