The approaching energy crisis

The Daily Caller has posted an interesting article by Dr. Charles Steele Jr. with Working People for Fair Energy. In this article, Dr. Steele describes the impending economic and social difficulties that will be caused by the EPA’s new greenhouse gas (GHG) regulations – due to go into effect on January 2, 2011.

Noting that electricity prices have already risen precipitously over the past two years, Steele argues that the new EPA regulations will “cause an energy crisis of new proportions, as costs will skyrocket and the overall reliability of our electricity (system) will be damaged.” Steele goes on to describe how regulation-driven increases in the cost of electricity costs will hit those with low incomes and those on fixed incomes the hardest.

The potential cost impacts are well documented. The Affordable Power Alliance released a study showing the disproportionate cost impacts of the EPA’s regulations on minority families, as these families spend disproportionately more of their income on electricity bills. The study found that by raising household electricity costs as much as 50 percent, the EPA’s regulations would cause the poverty rate for Hispanic and African-American households to increase 20-22 percent by 2030. We’d see the effects within a few years, too, because by as early as 2015, we could see minority household incomes decrease by as much as $630 per year.

With winter coming, however, I’m equally concerned about the reliability impacts — not just for minority families, but also for senior citizen households and other families that require heat and light to survive a harsh winter. The Wall Street Journal editorial cited a new study by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), which found that the regulations will “subtract between 46 and 76 gigawatts of generating capacity from the U.S. grid by 2015,” which equals about 7.2 percent of our electricity capacity. The majority of the lost capacity will be from our reliable and affordable coal-fired plants that supply more than half of the country’s electricity. According to the NERC study, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia will be particularly hard hit by “brownouts and shortages” due to lost electricity capacity — and these are states that will likewise be hard hit by a cold winter.

Steele has rightly tagged the EPA’s with the responsibility for much of these energy price increases, as pundits and commentators have taken to referring to this department’s actions as “unconstitutional” and even “rogue.”

11. November 2010 by Jason Hayes
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