As more coal-fired power plants are shuttered across the nation, the greater the impact will be on the nation’s economy and electrical grid. That’s the conclusion of an alarming new report from the Government Accountability Office, which recently examined the impact of retiring coal-fired power plants in response to crippling new Environmental Protection Agency standards.
According to the report, approximately 13 percent of coal-fueled generating capacity has either been retired since 2012 or is planned for retirement by 2025, which surpasses the previous estimates in 2012. The report found that West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Kentucky represented 38 percent of the planned closures, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said.
“The number of coal-fired plants that are being forced to shut down is alarming, and I truly believe we are setting ourselves up for a major electric stability crisis in this country,” Manchin said. “The GAO report verifies the dangerous impact the EPA’s proposed rules are having on our electrical grid and our economy, and it should be an eye-opener not just for West Virginians, but for hard working individuals and families across America who depend on coal for reliable and affordable energy, especially during the harsh winters when the grid is pushed to capacity.”
The GAO report found that the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have all responded inadequately regarding the potential electric reliability impacts of regulations proposed by the EPA, Manchin said. The study concluded that in the last two years, only “initial steps” have been taken to establish interagency interactions.
Manchin is correct. The GAO report should be an eye-opener. And he believes the coal-fired plant closures will not only threaten the stability of the nation’s electrical grid, but will also cause electrical rates for everyday consumers to climb. He says the GAO report demonstrates that it is time for the Department of Energy to accelerate available grants and loan guarantees for advanced fossil fuel projects.
“It is long past time that these agencies recognize that we will rely on fossil fuels for decades to come, and rather than simply forcing plants to close, we need to figure out how to help them run more efficiently,” Manchin said. “If we don’t, prices will soar and the grid will fail.”
We agree. And lawmakers across the country would be foolish to not consider the far-reaching ramifications of the new EPA rules, and the alarming conclusions of the new GAO report as it relates to the nation’s electrical stability.
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- On September 23, 2014