OAN Roy Francis
1:45 PM – Friday, May 12, 2023
The new rule implemented by the Biden administration aimed at driving drastic changes in how power companies across the nation produce electricity, reportedly escalates the risk of outages according to various industry groups.
On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published new carbon pollution standards which would force “utilities to decide whether to close coal and gas plants that produce high amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide before 2040. As an alternative, power companies could retrofit their coal or gas plants with technology to capture their carbon pollution, or could blend in cleaner-burning hydrogen with gas,” according to Politico.
The agency also claimed that the “new proposed standards for coal and new natural gas fired power plants would avoid more than 600 million metric tons of CO2 pollution, while also preventing 300,000 asthma attacks and 1,300 premature deaths in 2030 alone.”
According to Fox News, the new regulations will have “climate and health benefits” which will be worth around $85 billion as well as reducing the amount of air pollutants and soot in the air.
The new standards include, “Strengthening the current New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for newly built fossil fuel-fired stationary combustion turbines (generally natural gas-fired), Establishing emission guidelines for states to follow in limiting carbon pollution from existing fossil fuel-fired steam generating EGUs (including coal, oil and natural gas-fired units) and establishing emission guidelines for large, frequently used existing fossil fuel-fired stationary combustion turbines (generally natural gas-fired)”
EPA Administrator, Michael Regan, released a statement in support of the new regulations saying that the agency’s proposal “relies on proven, readily available technologies.”
“By proposing new standards for fossil fuel-fired power plants, EPA is delivering on its mission to reduce harmful pollution that threatens people’s health and wellbeing,” the statement said. “EPA’s proposal relies on proven, readily available technologies to limit carbon pollution and seizes the momentum already underway in the power sector to move toward a cleaner future.”
Power producers across the nation decried the new standards warning the they threaten to compromise the reliability of the power network by retiring the older gas and coal powered plants at a faster pace than they are currently being closed.
According to Politico, power outages in 2020 reached an all-time high, and remain on the rise. The average person spent around seven hours without power in 2021, whereas in 2013 the average was four hours.
As outages are on the rise, the shift to electric cars, and a push to other energy demands to electricity is expected to raise U.S. power consumption by about 12% to 22% between 2021 and 2030, which requires a massive increase in power generation.
Todd Snitchler, president and CEO of the Electric Power Supply Association, which represents plant owners, noted that many of coal plants have already been shut down since 2015 due to the power climate rule released by the Obama administration, although it was never enforced, and that the new rule will cut more of the already few plants that remain.
“We’ve already got reliability concerns,” he said. “You don’t have anything today that can replace the gas that could retire. The lights are gonna go out if the weather gets worse, and so that’s something that EPA and the Department of Energy and everyone else is well aware of.”
The North American Electric Reliability Corp. said that its newest reliability report that the Midcontinent Independent System operator (MISO), which coordinates regional resources planning and oversees the market as a whole, risks capacity shortfalls by this summer because not enough power is being generated to meet the spiking demand.
However, Former FERC Chair, and current senior adviser at the law firm Hogan Lovells, Neil Chatterjee said that there are doubts whether plants will start to shut down because the rule may not withstand legal scrutiny.
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