There is a growing concern among experts that the nation’s power grid is being unnecessarily stressed to the max. Utility officials are cautioning that the decrease of coal-fired power plants may have disastrous effects leaving the United States power system weak and vulnerable to blackouts in the future.
American Electric Power’s Nick Akins stated, “I worry about the potential of brownouts and blackouts if we’re actually depending on this generation that’s going to be retired.”
They are concerned that extreme summer heat or frosty winters could cause the power system to fail.
In 2008 President Barack Obama stated, “If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
President Obama has accelerated EPA coal regulations to the point that — all of the rules handed down from 5 years ago — has led to approximately 20 percent of the coal plants being closed. And if the new regulations that are being considered pass, another 20 percent will be closed.
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity Mike Duncan is concerned if more power plants are closed, “that creates huge stresses – we’re just not ready for anything like that in this country.”
Pro-coal supporters believe the White House’s focus on climate change has been too swift and too radical, placing the dependability of the nation’s power grid at risk. It has happened before in America, most notably in California when Governor Gray Davis led a green agenda that led to grid-failures.
But EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy stated, “Nothing we do can threaten reliability. We have to recognize that in a changing climate like the one we have recently been experiencing, it is an increasing challenge to maintain a reliable energy supply.” The EPA says government studies indicate there will be more than enough electricity-generating capacity to meet the nation’s needs.
When asked about future regulations, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy suggested the agency is trying to be careful. However, it is clear that the EPA believes this is “settled” debate over climate change, when Americans and American lawmakers are nowhere near conceding that.
Even nongovernmental (NGO) and intergovernmental (IGO) climate change panels are at odds with one another regarding the existence and impact of climate change. The NIPCC, a nongovernmental panel who are serious climate skeptics, released a report last week with hard data points rebutting the latest IPCC report. And Americans, as we recently reported, are largely unconcerned about climate change and do not attribute recent weather patterns to manmade events.
Considering this past winter’s severe cold and the fabrication of the term, “Polar Vortex,” Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is skeptical. She noted at a Senate hearing this week that the system was already at its limits.
“Eight-nine percent of the coal electricity capacity that is due to go offline was utilized as that backup to meet the demand this winter,” Murkowski said. Her concern is also echoed by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, from the coal-country states of West Virginia.
“Add the fact that EPA is proposing new source performance standard, what this is going to do will effectively ban the construction of any new coal plants,” Manchin said. “How do we keep the lights on so people’s lives will not be in danger?”
Even former comedian turned-Minnesota Democratic Senator, Al Franken, told Fox News that this is no laughing matter.
“We need state flexibility in addressing those kind of issues, especially on the new rules that the EPA will make on existing coal fire plants,” he said. “We’re talking about grid security — it’s a serious issue.”