Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court took the unprecedented step of issuing a stay against President Obama’s massive “Clean Power Plan” (CPP.) The Court determined that states should not be compelled to pay the exorbitant costs of the plan until a federal court determines its legality.
Despite the reprieve, Missouri has chosen to move forward with the task of rebuilding its entire power generation sector. This means the state will still undertake the construction of new grid infrastructure, including the many new transmission lines and towers needed to carry electricity from planned wind and solar assemblies.
Ironically, wind and solar power have yet to prove reliable in terms of scalability for power generation. Such “renewable” sources of energy are intermittent — the sun doesn’t always shine, the wind doesn’t always blow — and require backup power generation from coal or gas plants. And so, even as Missouri — a state that currently derives 83 percent of its power from coal — begins to shutter its coal-fired power plants, it will need to build new coal or gas systems to backstop these projected wind and solar plants.
The question is why Missouri would bear this cost when it is currently under no legal obligation to do so. The stay by the Supreme Court means that all compliance deadlines are now suspended, and the stay will remain in effect until the Court has a chance to review the case following action by the D.C. Circuit. In fact, the earliest decision from the Court on the merits of the case would likely come in mid- to late-2017.
But the stay is only part of the reasoning here. More importantly, the rule could be struck down on judicial review. The Supreme Court’s issuance of the stay can only be read as reflecting a high level of dissatisfaction with the EPA’s legal basis for the rule.
Apart from the costs, Missouri should consider that the goals of the Clean Power Plan are of questionable practicality. It would yield only a trivial reduction in carbon dioxide that could soon be overwhelmed by emissions from China, India and other developing nations. That may be viewed as cost-effective for Washington, but not for Missouri.
The clean coal that currently powers much of Missouri — and much of America — has proven to be durable, affordable and reliable. Renewable energy, in contrast, has proven to be expensive and low-yield. Missouri would be wise to follow the example of those states that are rejecting the CPP as a costly overreach of federal authority — and one with little practical or environmental benefit.
See the article here.
- On March 16, 2016