EPA Doubles Down on Last Winter’s Power Plant Outages

National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn today called attention to new findings by the North American Reliability Corp. (NERC) that 35,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity was temporarily idled during last winter’s cold snap. Of far greater concern, says Quinn, should be the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan that will double that volume of lost generating capacity – and with permanent rather than temporary plant retirements:

“NERC shows us how nature played havoc with the reliability of the nation’s grid during last winter’s polar vortex. EPA, on the other hand, is creating permanent vortex conditions for our electricity grid from misguided federal policies that will do more lasting damage than Mother Nature. The polar vortex resulted in 35,000 MW of temporary outages, says NERC. But EPA rules are forcing the permanent outage of more than 60,000 MW of generating capacity. And that is even before the agency’s new Clean Power Plan forces more capacity out of the grid.

“The impact on consumers of these additional plant closures in future cold winters should be worrisome. According to a recent study commissioned by NMA, businesses and households would pay $35 billion more for natural gas and face rising wholesale power prices of between 27 to 55 percent across all regions of the country. If another cold winter is followed by an unusually hot summer, the impact worsens, with consumers paying $100 billion in higher electricity and natural gas prices.

“There are things we can do to lessen the impact of weather on electricity supply and power prices. And none is more important than stopping misguided policies from making matters worse.”