Clean Power Plan Will Raise Energy Costs
Finally, the United States judiciary has stopped the runaway train known as the Obama administration. In a ruling issued Feb. 9, the U.S. Supreme Court called a halt to the implementation of the so-called Clean Power Plan (CPP), the president’s signature program to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from coal-burning power plants.
By issuing the stay, the court is preventing the EPA from implementing the CPP before its legality is determined. Even liberal professor Laurence Tribe of Harvard University, one of President Obama’s mentors, says the plan is at odds with the U.S. Constitution. In congressional testimony, he asserted the CPP would commandeer the states and make them submissive to the federal government in violation of the Tenth Amendment.
More than two dozen states have filed suit to stop the CPP because it would shutter scores of economical, high-technology, clean (CO2 is not a pollutant) coal-fired power plants and force utilities to invest in more expensive, less reliable alternatives. Both wind and solar systems for electricity generation are heavily subsidized — receiving government support amounting to $16.1 billion between 2010 and 2013.
These perennially uneconomic energy sources received another boost in December when Congress extended the production tax credit. Gina McCarthy, EPA administrator, said the court’s stay on the CPP will have little impact because “Congress pretty much ensured that renewables will continue to dominate in the marketplace.” Well, yes and no. A new administration could take a page out of Obama’s own playbook and nullify or just refuse to extend this tax credit, an easy choice for fiscal reform.
But change would come to electricity rates under the CPP. A study by my organization, the Institute for Energy Research, found wind energy is about five times more costly than existing nuclear power and about three times more expensive than coal. Who will pay for these higher costs? Consumers and businesses. And now, it increasingly appears, during a recession.
Other calculations show the CPP would result in double-digit rate increases in 41 states but would do virtually nothing to slow the alleged negative of global warming. The sea-level rise would be reduced only by the width of two human hairs, according to climate models that the administration relies upon.
Still, President Obama is determined to move the United States away from fossil fuels and toward wind and solar despite their drawbacks. They produce power only intermittently, when the sun shines and the wind blows, and their energy cannot be stored efficiently. This means utilities must have dependable backup systems powered by nuclear energy and fossil fuels that continually send electricity to the grid.
Natural gas does not need help against coal for new electrical generating capacity. Natural gas burns cleaner than coal, and the United States has enough natural gas to last more than 80 years. It also is cheap; advanced technologies used to extract gas from shale formations have helped to lower the price to about $2 per thousand cubic feet, about a quarter of the price paid two years ago on the spot market.
The United States should take advantage of its natural gas bounty rather than accept the administration’s top-down energy edicts. The president’s approach to energy policy is based on the wishful thinking of the 1970s. President Jimmy Carter, who put solar panels on the White House roof, predicted solar power would supply 20 percent of our energy by 2000. That didn’t happen. Of U.S. electricity demand, solar power supplies less than one percent, and wind power comprises less than five percent.
Unfortunately, these facts haven’t stopped the Obama Energy Express from barreling toward an uncertain and more costly energy future. Both the Supreme Court and Congress should exercise their authority, pull back on the throttle and stop this train wreck.
See the article here.
- On May 12, 2016