NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

EPA Rule Threatens Electricity Reliability

December 12, 2014

The EPA's Clean Power Plan rule attempts to reduce carbon emissions from power plants, reducing those emissions to almost one-third (30 percent) of 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA has touted the rule as avoiding 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 childhood asthma attacks, ultimately creating $93 billion in benefits to the climate and public health.

But that's not all the rule will do. Writing for the Wall Street Journal, Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) contends the rule will send electricity costs skyrocketing and will strain the system:

  • NERA Economic Consulting projects nationwide electricity price increases of 12 percent to 17 percent over 15 years.
  • The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) issued a study last month, concluding that the American power grid's long-term reliability is at risk in certain areas of the country due to EPA regulations and shifts to renewable energy. This report did not take into account the additional consequences of the Clean Power Plan.
  • Another NERC report, however, concluded the Clean Power Plan compliance deadlines were not realistic because they did not  accurately consider how long it takes to build new pipelines and transmission lines so that renewable and natural gas plants can replace coal.
  • The report also contended the EPA's claims about energy efficiency gains from the rule were unsubstantiated. If these efficiency gains don't take place, Cramer says more power plants will close in order to reduce their carbon emissions.

Cramer criticizes the agency for replacing the American energy infrastructure "with expensive and uncertain measures to accomplish reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions that won\'t even move the needle on climate change globally."

Source: Kevin Cramer, "Where Will You Be When the Lights Go Out?" Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2014.


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