By John Pippy
Times Guest Columnist
Jack Rodgers’ recent letter is correct in pointing out that “crucial details need to be worked out” in the proposed Clean Power Plan.
Such work remains because of the realities of supply and demand. The Clean Power Plan’s requirements will force the closings of coal-fired power plants when no other sources of electricity are prepared to make up the difference. The diminished supply of baseload electricity will cause skyrocketing electric rates.
Coal provides a reliable and affordable supply of baseload electricity representing 40 percent of the electric market in Pennsylvania, while renewable sources constitute single-digit percentages. No combination of renewables, natural gas, nuclear power and conservation can replace the demand on the timeline mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., isn’t alone in drawing attention to this reality. In an interview with WPXI this year, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., made similar comments: “We should try to achieve an EPA policy as it relates to Pennsylvania as well as other states that doesn’t put that kind of burden on ratepayers.”
State agencies have also shown opposition to the plan. The targets for renewable energy use and efficiency programs “are not credible and will be unattainable,” according to Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in its comments submitted to the EPA during the recently concluded comment period on the proposed regulations.
Emission reductions are a laudable goal. According to Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection, carbon emissions from the fossil fuel-fired electric generating fleet in Pennsylvania have declined by 12 percent from 2008 through 2013.
The energy industry already is making significant strides toward carbon reductions. A collaborative approach that includes all of our resources will achieve environmental goals while minimizing the negative impact on consumers and the economy.
John Pippy is the CEO of the Harrisburg-based PA Coal Alliance.
Read the article here.
- On December 30, 2014