The Obama EPA's war on coal is nearly complete. On Tuesday, the EPA issued it's first proposed rule for green house gases that will effectively prevent any new coal plant from being built, at least beyond the 20 or so in the pipeline today. This from the CS Monitor:
The Obama administration on Tuesday proposed the nation’s first-ever restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions from US power plants. If approved, the restrictions are expected to sharply curb construction of new coal-fired power plants nationwide.
The proposed restrictions, unveiled by officials at the Environmental Protection Agency, would apply only to new fossil-fuel-burning power plants – limiting them to no more than 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt generated.
A typical coal-fired plant produces more than 1,700 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt. Most natural-gas fired plants – the majority of power plants under construction today – emit less than the new standard, around 800 pounds per megawatt.
The Obama EPA's other recently issued rules, the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, Boiler MACT, and Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, all attack existing coal fired power plants. Coal provides nearly 50% of our electrical generating capacity today.
We may be lucky. Obama, when he started the war on coal, sold the fantasy of replacing coal with solar and wind - yet neither are any closer to being cost effective at scale today than they were in 2009. That said, natural gas, which has exploded in recent years, may provide a replacement. Still, the overhead costs of building new LNG plants to replace working coal plants prior to the end of their natural period of operation will be significant. Then there is the question of how much the price of natural gas will rise as demand increases exponentially to replace coal. So whatever happens, electric costs are going to rise, the only questions are by how much and whether we will experience significant disruptions of electric service as part of this top down forced replacement of coal.
All of that said, the question that we should be asking is this, did any of our elected representatives vote into law a bill driving coal from our energy marketplace? No, quite the opposite, when the President's energy plan was presented two years ago, it couldn't make it out of the Senate. So why is it that something so fundamental to our nation is being decided based on regulations made without the approval of our elected representatives and in contravention of Article I, Section I of our Constitution (all legislative power is vested in Congress). This out of control, extra constitutional regulatory bureaucracy is the single greatest systemic problem our nation faces. As I wrote in a prior post, End The Tyranny - No Regulation Without Representation.