The editorial notes:
The Obama administration has a long, anti-coal, oil, and natural gas track record. According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), their anti-coal, oil, and natural gas zeal will soon start affecting the reliability of the electric grid.
NERC is recognized by the federal government as the leading authority on electric reliability. As the organization that ensures the reliability of the electric grid, NERC recently found that existing and proposed environmental regulations in the United States may significantly affect bulk power system reliability. In fact, according to NERC, “environmental regulations are shown to be the number one risk to reliability over the next one to five years”.
Beyond the 38 gigawatts of electricity capacity that has already been announced to retire, NERC estimates that another 36 to 59 gigawatts of capacity will come off-line by 2018, depending on the “scope and timing” of EPA regulations. Together nearly a quarter of our coal-fired capacity could be off-line by 2018, marking the first time in energy history that installed coal-fired capacity has declined.
The NERC has found that several proposed EPA regulations will expose the U.S. to serious energy vulnerabilities: the Clean Water Act – Cooling Water Intake Structures; MACT Standards; Cross State Air Pollution Rule and Coal Combustion Residuals.
NERC estimates that as many as 677 coal-fired plants will need to temporarily shut down to install EPA-mandated equipment, which constitutes an impact on over 70% of our total coal-fired capacity.