As power outages go, the one in the Washington, D.C. area last week was relatively minor.
But the outage didn’t seem minor to the dozens of people stranded on elevators, stuck deep in darkened Metro rail depots and to businesses forced to close early and lose revenue.
But thanks to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rush to judgment on coal-fired power generation, “relatively minor outages” like the one that affected Potomac Electric Power customers are likely to occur more often.
As every former West Virginia coal miner knows, the EPA is enforcing strict new regulations regarding electric power emissions, forcing the closure of 188 coal-burning power plants in the nation so far, including Appalachian Power’s Glasgow plant in the Upper Kanawha Valley.
Also closed in the recent years due to environmentalist pressure was a coal-burning power plant in Maryland whose existence might have provided a back up source of power during the D.C. outage.
But it appears that in its zest to vilify the coal industry and the people who make a living off of the nation’s least expensive and most abundant fossil fuel, the EPA didn’t think through the concepts of electric reliability and affordability.
“The EPA’s proposal is causing concern among those who provide electricity for a living,” wrote Warner Baxter, chairman, president and CEO of St. Louis-based Ameren Corp. in Monday’s Wall Street Journal.
Baxter said about one-third of America’s coal-fired plants will be retired by 2020, yet it takes years to site, permit, and construct replacement power plants “and EPA’s compliance time line does not account for this reality.”
But then again, accounting for reality has never been the strong point of the overly idealistic Obama administration.
“While the EPA’s desire to reduce carbon emissions is understandable, doing so should not jeopardize reliability or unnecessarily threaten the affordability of the national electricity supply,” Baxter concludes. “… The agency should pursue a more reasonable course on carbon policy.”
Yes, the EPA’s course should take into account electric reliability, affordability and the economic livelihood of the hardworking folks who provide the nation’s most abundant fuel source.
In the meantime, Americans everywhere should be prepared for higher electric rates and more frequent outages thanks to the EPA’s lack of foresight.
See the article here.
- On April 14, 2015