The EPA came out a couple of weeks ago with the new guidelines and standards for coal fired power plants.
As I noted at the time, Texas immediately recognized this for the problem that it is:
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, though, believes the rules "will result in significant increases in the cost of power as well as curtailment or shutdowns of existing coal-fired plants in Texas." It said other sources of electricity will not compensate for that, especially given the January compliance date.
Jazz Shaw, writing at Hot Air, followed up on this with a post yesterday:
When these rules go into effect, a significant number of coal plants are either going to shut down – long term or permanently – and/or have to raise their utility rates dramatically to pay for these renovations which were sprung on them with virtually no notice. Other options include importing more electricity from out of state, but that again drives up costs and puts additional strain on the delivery infrastructure.
The mind jumps at first to all the jobs that will be "unexpectedly" lost when this all kicks in. And then, if you live in Texas, you have to think about the exorbitant energy costs headed your way.
And what to make of the current heat wave? Power grids are already strained across the country. As Tina noted in the comments at my original post, Texas has its own power grid. But, these new EPA rules, (i.e.: Cap and Trade by fiat) will strain that immeasurably. Jazz Shaw points to this statement by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) (emphasis is mine):
ERCOT’s May11 report to the Public Utility Commission on the impact of the proposed environmental regulations did not address the impact of SO2 restrictions on coal plants in ERCOT because these restrictions on Texas were not included as part of the EPA’s earlier rule proposal. We have not had time to fully analyze the entire 1,323-page Cross-State Rule released July 7 or to communicate with the generation owners regarding what their intentions will be. However, initial implications are that the SO2 requirements for Texas added at the last stage of the rule development will have a significant impact on coal generation, which provided 40 percent of the electricity consumed in ERCOT in 2010.
In other words, these regulations were not something Texas saw coming and nobody has had time to prepare for them. These regulations take effect early next year:
Our concern is that the timing of the new requirements – effective Jan. 1, 2012 – is unreasonable because it does not allow enough time to implement operational responses to ensure reliability. We fear that many of the coal plants in ERCOT will be forced to limit or shut down operations in order to maintain compliance with the new rule, possibly leading to inadequate operating reserve margins with insufficient time to reliably retrofit existing generation or build new, replacement generation.
What are people in Texas supposed to do? Install windmills? Solar panels?
Texas Governor Rick Perry issued the following statement following the announcement of the new EPA regulations on July 7:
Today's EPA announcement is another example of heavy-handed and misguided action from Washington, D.C., that threatens Texas jobs and families and puts at risk the reliable and affordable electricity our state needs to succeed. From the attack on Texas' successful clean air program, to threatening endangered species listings in West Texas oil fields, to banning offshore energy exploration, the Obama Administration seems intent on increasing energy costs for American consumers and making us even more dependent on foreign energy.
It does indeed seem as if the Obama Administration is trying to raise energy costs, not just in Texas, but on all Americans. In Louisiana there are still many people suffering through the permitorium and are unable to work or have lost their small business due to team Obama's refusal to grant drilling permits in the Gulf.
Four more years of this administration will kill America. Period. We can not stand four more years. As it is, it will take the next decade or more to get us out of the mess we're in. Four more years of Obama and we might as well turn out the lights.
If there are any left.