Posts filed under Policy and Legislation

New Study Reveals Billions in Costs, Lost Jobs Under NRDC’s Carbon Regulation Proposal

This week, we released a detailed economic analysis of the Natural Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) carbon regulation proposal, first put forth by NRDC in December 2012 and updated last week.

The newest version of NRDC’s proposal ludicrously asserts that its plan to reduce CO2 emissions from existing power plants would carry no costs at all and would actually spur numerous benefits. Worse yet, the NRDC proposal recommends a system-based approach (also known as “outside-the-fence”) that is essentially a cap-and-trade program. Our analysis, performed by leading research firm the National Economic Research Associates (NERA), clearly demonstrates that NRDC left out some critical facts including the $13 to $17 billion-per-year price tag for consumers and the millions of jobs America stands to lose under its proposed policy.

Our economic analysis further projects the NRDC proposal would cost consumers a total of $116 to $151 billion during the period of 2018-2033. And, retail electricity prices would increase by double digit percentages in as many as 29 states.

Over this same time period, net job losses could total as many as 2.85 million. NRDC projects net job gains in the thousands, but only in the years 2016 and 2020.

NRDC also asserts that gas-fired generation would increase by 2 percent. Our economic analysis found that natural gas-fired generation would increase by 8-16 percent to keep up with demand, while rates would simultaneously increase by as much as 16 percent.

The results of our economic analysis reveal that the NRDC proposal is, in fact, all pain with very little gain. And the proposal’s failure to mention the many potential consequences, like cost increases and job losses, suggests that the group is ignoring reality in order to drum up support for its impractical plan. A more reasonable approach to greenhouse gas regulations would offer more flexibility and would focus on measures that can be taken at power plants to reduce their impact, while maintaining dependable, low-cost, coal-based electricity.

Here at America’s Power, we support an “inside-the-fence,” source-based approach that bases emissions reductions on measures taken at existing power plants. This would include many improvements power plants can make to their facilities that improve efficiency, remove emissions and more. Being able to implement measures at individual generating units is a common sense approach to working with utilities and achieving significant emissions reductions and environmental improvements. Let’s work together to craft a solution that works for our consumers and for America’s energy future.

Join us in asking the EPA to set common sense policies and to protect American jobs today.


Confirming What We Already Know

If you read the Wall Street Journal yesterday, you probably noticed a full-page ad featuring EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy telling Americans to “suck it up” over skyrocketing electricity bills. While we agree, skyrocketing bills are coming your way, that ad didn’t come from us. It came from a group called Environmental Policy Alliance who launched a new site epafacts.com yesterday to call attention to little issues at EPA like transparency and secret science, as well as what the true cost Americans will bear as a result of its overreaching regulations.

The Environmental Policy Alliance is not alone in wanting to know more about what goes on behind the closed doors at EPA. In fact, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has weighed-in on the matter and is opening a full investigation on the EPA decision-making process relating to the agency’s consideration of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies as it relates to creating greenhouse gas emission standards for new power plants. The letter to Administrator McCarthy specifically mentions how section 111 of the Clean Air Act authorizes the EPA to impose emission standards using carbon capture technologies that have been “adequately demonstrated” which does not legally include those that are federally funded. A plant that we are quite familiar with, the Kemper County facility in Mississippi, is federally funded, has the CCS technology and is a great starting point but is not ready to be duplicated for many reasons.

The House Energy investigation as well as the site epafacts.com confirms what we already know: EPA’s regulations are far too stringent and will be destructive to our way of life. By continuing on their rampage of taking coal out of the mix, energy costs for families will continue to rise, forcing some to make the unbearable choice to keep the lights on or put food on the table. In addition, coal-fired plants around the country are facing retirements that will result in jobs lost and an unreliable grid that can’t deliver power when it’s needed most.   Thankfully, our legislators are starting to listen, and hopefully will put a stop to EPA’s overzealous regulations which ultimately will inflict much pain without any real gain. If you haven’t already, visit eparegscostjobs.com and send a comment to McCarthy’s EPA and stand up for affordable, reliable power and American jobs.


ACCCE Talks Energy Policy with Senator Heidi Heitkamp

Following the Coal Technology Symposium on Capitol Hill last week, we sat down with Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) to talk about North Dakota’s and America’s energy future.

Senator Heitkamp knows better than most the need for a diverse fuel portfolio in America’s energy sector. After years of experience working within the energy industry, she now reaches across party lines on Capitol Hill to pursue common sense energy policies. Senator Heitkamp understands that coal-fueled electricity provides reliable, affordable power and can support America’s energy demands while reducing our carbon footprint.

“We know we can deploy clean coal,” Senator Heitkamp told us. “People ask me all the time, is there such a thing? And I say, absolutely.”

The United States is currently the global leader in clean coal technology innovation.  The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for coal-fueled power plants, however, put America’s innovation leadership at serious risk. As currently devised, NSPS will all but ensure no new coal plant is ever built in America resulting in a halt in innovation in clean coal technologies. Other countries like China and India will be all too eager to step in and continue to advance these technologies which will bring economic benefits in the trillions of dollars to the leader of the innovation race.

Senator Heitkamp believes that EPA and energy policy makers should work with America’s coal industry to develop less stringent regulations that allow room for extensive research and development of clean coal technologies right here at home.

“When you shut down the opportunity for coal long-term, or you send the wrong signals, you’re going to shut down the investment,” Senator Heitkamp added.

In 2012, North Dakota depended on coal-fueled power to generate 78 percent of the state’s electricity. Local businesses and families alike rely on the affordable power from coal to power their communities reliably, even during North Dakota’s harsh winters. And, this winter in particular, coal-fueled power plants were critical in meeting electricity demands across the country during the coldest days.

If EPA continues to pursue regulations that will shut down coal-fueled plants or place a de facto ban on future construction, local communities will be hit the hardest. Thankfully, Senator Heitkamp is standing up for North Dakota communities that depend on coal-fired power for electricity, job growth, and the numerous benefits coal offers local economies.

 

Take action today and join the fight to protect low-cost energy from coal and support the development of clean coal technology.


U.S. House of Representatives Takes Important Step in Curbing EPA Overreach

Good news coming out of Capitol Hill today if you are a supporter, like we are, of sound energy policy that works to ensure Americans have continued access to affordable and reliable electricity. H.R. 3826 “The Energy Security and Affordability Act,” sponsored by Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) passed the U.S. House of Representatives today, marking greater action from Congress in the fight against EPA overreach.

The Energy Security and Affordability Act is a bipartisan, bicameral piece of legislation that requires greater transparency for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rulemaking process and safeguards against the agency’s overzealous standards for both new and existing power plants.

As our President and CEO Mike Duncan commented, “At a time of such political polarization, Representative Whitfield and Senator Manchin should be commended for their bi-partisan leadership in the fight against EPA’s costly, overreaching regulations.”

The leaders involved in this important bill should be commended for their common sense approach to setting limitations for agency regulations. They understand that the future of America’s energy supply is far too important an issue to draw hard lines in the sand. Congress has spoken, and they have demonstrated that the topic of greenhouse gas regulations for power plants is not a partisan issue.

Also of note this week, EPA’s extension of the comment period for New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new sources posted on the federal register. These regulations will place a de facto ban on building new coal-based power plants, which will jeopardize America’s energy future.

Your voice is important, and we need your help to advocate for our nation’s economy and all American families struggling with rising energy bills. You can join our effort by voicing your concerns to EPA today. Please visit www.eparegscostjobs.com to file comments.

 


Let Your Voice Be Heard

America’s energy future is at a crossroads. President Obama and his activist Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are working to cut coal out of our energy portfolio—for good. Newly proposed regulations will place a de facto ban on the construction of any new coal plant in America, undermining American families’ and business’ access to affordable, reliable electricity.

 

We were encouraged to learn that EPA recently extended the comment deadline for its New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) to May 9, 2014, meaning there’s still time to take action and make our voices heard. America’s Power has been gathering comments from supporters across the country, and we hope to use EPA’s extension as a renewed effort to weigh in on this critical debate.

 

The Sierra Club has been boasting of 4 million supportive comments. Do we want the voices of environmental special interest groups to ring the loudest? No. The EPA needs to hear from those who will be impacted most directly by its costly regulations. If you believe that we need an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that ensures our electricity remains dependable and affordable, let EPA know that its regulations are unreasonable.

 

Click here to take action and join the fight to protect low-cost energy from coal.


Experts Question Fuzzy Science of the Social Cost of Carbon

The United States has long depended and benefitted from affordable, reliable coal-fueled electricity. Yet, the Obama administration and its Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to pursue overbearing regulations that dramatically limit the use of coal in our energy portfolio, leaving the U.S. at risk of exorbitant electricity prices and an unreliable power. One of the tools being used to justify these overly burdensome regulations is the “social cost of carbon” (SCC), a measure that purportedly calculates the benefits of reducing carbon emissions.

Yesterday marked the deadline to submit public comments on the administration’s SCC calculation, and experts took to Capitol Hill to discuss the issue at a panel event hosted by the George C. Marshall Institute.

Dr. Roger Bezdek, president of Management Information Services, highlighted research from his report, “The Social Cost of Carbon? No, the Social Benefits of Carbon,” that demonstrates the invaluable role fossil fuels have played in modernizing our society both at home and abroad:

“Fossil fuels will continue to provide economic benefits both in the U.S. and globally. We shouldn’t penalize the industry based on faulty science like that of SCC.”

Other experts also praised the benefits of fossil fuels and underscored the problematic nature of the SCC tool, which seems to be yet another arrow in the administration’s climate change quiver.

Dr. David Kreutzer, research fellow in energy economics and climate change at the Heritage Foundation, highlighted the unreliability of SCC, noting:

“The EPA pretends not to see the damage that will result from the SCC model. There is no viable reason to use it.”

Dr. Patrick Michaels, director of the Center of the Study of Science at the Cato Institute, called for better research and analysis:

“The SCC is no longer scientifically defensible. We need to base policy proposals on defensible science.”

Masked behind claims of reliable data, SCC is seen by many for what it really is: yet another effort by the administration to remove resources like coal from America’s energy portfolio. President Obama and his EPA should stop creating arbitrary distractions like SCC and live up to their pledge of an “all of the above” energy approach that would ensure low-cost, abundant resources like coal continue to provide affordable, reliable power to American homes and businesse


What They’re Saying: Reliability and Energy Prices

This week, we’ve seen a number of developments making energy news, and a major theme is emerging that’s shaping the conversation about the future of energy policy in the U.S.

The selection of a new chair for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, statements by energy industry experts and elected officials and an administration official telling Congress that new EPA regulations could raise electricity prices by as much as 80 percent have people talking about the reliability of our grid and energy costs.

It was announced yesterday that Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has been selected to chair the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  Her selection is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate, and her elevation to this position is good news for energy producers and consumers alike.

Senator Landrieu announced she will pursue an agenda that will be “inclusive, bipartisan and focused on the job creation that America needs and wants,.” She has a proven record of fighting back against EPA overreach in order to protect affordable reliable fossil fuels and works across the aisle, seeking commonsense solutions to use our most abundant resources, like coal, more efficiently and cleanly.

A leader like Senator Landrieu will be instrumental in shaping policies that keep energy prices affordable for our families and our businesses.

Unfortunately, Senator Landrieu’s commonsense approach isn’t the only thing shaping the future of energy policy.  The EPA and the Obama Administration are still pursuing new regulations that could cause an enormous price increase for energy consumers across the country.

Dr. Julio Friedmann, the deputy assistant secretary for clean coal at the Department of Energy, told members of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations yesterday that EPA’s plan to require Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology for all new coal plants could raise wholesale electricity costs by as much as 80 percent.

Dr. Friedmann’s statements confirm what we’ve long known to be true: CCS is still a developing technology.  It’s not yet a commercially viable option, and requiring new coal plants to install CCS will lead to higher energy prices for businesses and families.

As new regulations make it more costly to operate coal-fueled power plants, the continued retirement of these energy sources is likely to increase the probability of rising electricity prices and supply disruptions.

With the record low temperatures we experienced this January, we’ve seen an increased demand for energy.  What we learned last month is that without the power generated by coal, electric reliability is called into question. Additionally the price of other energy sources, like natural gas, can spike when people need it the most.

Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) highlighted the need to keep our energy mix diverse in response to this year’s extreme weather:

“Our reliance on installed, dispatchable power generation during extreme weather serves as a shining example of why diversity of baseload capacity is necessary to secure grid reliability. “

When we needed it the most, Americans turned to the power generated by coal to keep our lights on and our homes warm.  But with coal plants continuing to retire, what will happen when those units are no longer available?

In her comments on protecting the energy sources on which we rely, Sen. Murkowski expressed how tenuous our current policy direction is:

“What happens when that capacity is gone?  Maybe we won’t have cold periods like we’re seeing next year [and] we’ll be OK.  But what kind of policy is that?  A hope and a prayer, that’s not how we need to be operating here.”

We cannot afford this administration’s overreliance on a more narrow fuel source portfolio that excludes coal.

We can’t stand by as government agencies like the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) deals with the issue of reliability by allowing PJM to offer power prices that exceed the market cap of $1,000 per megawatt hour.

Actions like those undertaken by FERC set a dangerous precedent that places the burden of increased electricity costs on ratepayers, rather than prompting a critical examination of the energy and environmental policies coming from the White House.

Politically motivated agendas should not be undermining America’s access to affordable, reliable energy at the expense of family budgets and businesses’ bottom lines.

 

 

 


Coal Keeps America Thriving

Yesterday, the EPA held public hearings on its proposed New Source Performance Standards (NSPS) for new coal and gas-fueled power plants.   EPA’s proposal sets an unattainable standard based on technology that hasn’t been proven on a full-scale power plant making it all but impossible to build any future, technologically advanced coal plants in the United States.

This isn’t the right path forward for American energy policy.

The right path forward includes all of our energy resources, especially our most affordable, reliable, domestic fuel source: coal.

The president says he supports an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy, but in reality his administration is pursuing an “all but one” energy agenda.

We know how important coal-based electricity is to millions of Americans.  Energy from coal helps keep our lights on, our homes warm and our electricity prices affordable.  That’s why yesterday, as the EPA held its hearing, we circled the nation’s capital with a message for the president:

We can’t change policy by ourselves, which is why we need your help.  We’ve launched a campaign to let the EPA know that they must protect American jobs and ensure we all have the affordable, reliable power we need to fuel our lives.

Sign our letter today and tell EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy that you deserve affordable, reliable power.